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Full text of "The good old days of Honorable John Company; being curious reminiscences during the rule of the East India Company from 1600-1858, complied from newspapers and other publications"

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"We do not aspire to be historians, we simply profess to 
lay before our readers some curious reminiscences illustrating 
the manners and customs of the people (both Britons and 
Indians) during the rule of the East India Company." 

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Curious Reminiscences 

During the Rule of the East India Company 
From 1600 to 1858 

Compiled from newspapers and other publications 



62A, Ahiritola Street, Calcutta-5 

First Published : 1882 

New Quins abridged edition : 1964 
Copyright Reserved 

Edited by 


Rs. 15.00 . - 25=^. 


54-3, College Street, Calcutta-12. 

Published by Sri A. K. Dey for Quins Book Co., 62A, Ahiritola 
Street, Calcutta-5 and Printed by Sri J. N. Dey at the Express 
Printers Private Ltd., 20-A, Gour Laha Street, Calcutta-6. 

/n Memory 


The Departed Jawans 


The contents of the following pages are the result of 
researches of sexeral years, through files of old newspapers 
and hundreds of volumes of scarce works on India. Some of 
the authorities we have acknowledged in the progress of 
the work ; others, to which we have been indebted for in- 
formation we shall here enumerate ; apologizing to such as 
we may have unintentionally omitted : — 

Selections from the Calcutta Gazettes ; Calcutta Review ; 
Orlich's Jacquemont's ; Mackintosh's Travels ; Long's Selec- 
tions ; Calcutta Gazettes and other Calcutta papers ; Kaye's 
Civil Administration ; Wheeler's Early Records ; Malleson's 
Recreations; East India United Service Journal; Asiatic 
Researches and Asiatic Journal ; Knight's Calcutta; Lewis's 
Memoirs of Thomas ; Orme's History of India. 

We do not aspire to be historians, we simply profess to 
lay before our readers some curious reminiscences illustrat- 
ing the manners and customs of the people of Calcutta dur- 
ing the rule of the East India Company. 

Our scenes are laid principally in Calcutta, but we have 
occasionally travelled up-country that we might exhibit life 
in the mofussil, and in some few instances we have given 
notices of occurrences in the other presidencies. 

Our residence during the time that we have been 
employed in this compilation, having been far removed from 
the Metropolis, and our access to newspapers and publica- 
tions in consequence limited, we have been able to note only 
a few of the events of the times alluded to. But these notes 
%i\\ afford both amusement and instruction, showing as 
they do how rapidly improvement and progress have been 
jroing on, both in the condition and lives of the English in 
India, and we may add especially of the natives also, during 
the Government of the East India Company between the 
years 1600 and 1858. 


The work was first taken up as amusement during the 
leisure hour, but in the course of our reading, so many 
interesting records came under notice that it occurred to us, 
that the present generation might take an equal interest 
with ourselves in a narrative of events which happened 
during the two centuries alluded to in Calcutta and India 

Like another Herculaneum that had been buried for 
ages and afterwards exposed to view to a race unborn at the 
time of its entombment, the habits and amusements of 
people which had passed away from the face of the earth are 
reproduced in the pages we now present to the reader. We 
seem here to live again among those who were contempora- 
neous with our great grandfathers, and we can in imagina- 
tion see a little into their customs and habits, so old fashioned 
in our eyes as to rise a smile of contempt or ridicule. We 
see Calcutta before it possessed a single building of magni- 
ficence or even of importance, and when the Honorable 
Company of merchants were only in their infancy and ruled 
the coimtry with a jealous eye and iron hand. The Press 
was gagged and unable to offer an independent opinion. 
Adventurers were not allowed to land without a permit from 
the Honorable Court in Leadenhall Street ; and those who 
had licences were not permitted to go more than ten miles 
distant from Calcutta, without another permit. 

We now present the result of oiu" labors to an appreciat- 
ing public. 


January, 1882 W. H. Carey 


The Good Old Days Of Honorable John Company 
by W. H. Carey may not be a great book, but it is a good 
book by all manner and means. 

The author showed extraordinary diligence and zeal in 
collecting materials from various sources named and 
acknowledged in his illuminative preface. 

Though the present day reader may not see eye to eye 
with Carev in his presentation of some historical incidents, 
myths of which have since been exploded, and though in 
course of his marshalling of facts and arguments he some- 
times wrote, perhaps unwittingly, with an air of superiority, 
yet it can safely be said that he had never been found guilty 
of wilful distortion or of schadenfreude. If his remarks 
about the Indian people at times were rather uncharitable, 
he did not spare his own countrymen either. And it should 
not be forgotten that Carey was in this country at the most 
decadent period of its history ; Bengal was of course on the 
threshold of the Great Renaissance during his time, but 
Carey had not possibly had the opportunity to see the 
result of its full impact. 

Many a modern Bengali scribe is indebted to Carey for 
opening the hidden gate of a rich treasure-house wherefrom 
the writer could take away valuable materials with impunity 
to write his belles-lettress on Calcutta. 

Written more than eighty years ago Good Old Days 
overwhelms us at the amazingly wide range of vocabulary 
which its author possessed ; the style is breezy and succulent 
throughout ; it is King's English at its best. 

In the present edition we have omitted some chapters 
which appear to have lost their import with the passage of 
eight decades. — retaining all the essential and important 
topics. The original text with its quaint spelling of proper 

names and places (perhaps prevalent in those days) has 
been kept untouched, save some must modifications here 
and there. 

We shall consider our efforts amply rewarded if Good 
Old Days, salvaged from the depth of oblivion, is able to 
entertain the discerning reader with an hour or two of: 
pleasurable reading. 

November 14, 1964 A. N. M. 



1. First European Settlers in the East ... 1 

2. Establishment of the Company in India ... 5 

3. The Company's Commercial Operations ... 21 

4. Ancient Calcutta ... ... ... 26 

5. Calcutta Besieged 1756 ... ... 41 

6. Calcutta Restored 1758 ... ... 51 

Rebuilding of the City — resumption of trade 51 

Street nomenclature ... ... 64 

Ghauts or landing places ... ... 69 

Places of note in the immediate vicinity ... 70 

7. Amusements ... ... ... 74 

Public entertainments ... ... 74 

Dancing ... ... ... 81 

Dignity Ball in 1829 ... ... 85 

Theatricals ... ... ... 87 

Racing ... ... ... 92 

Boat races ... ... ... 94 

Cricket ... ... ... 95 

Ballooning ... ... ... 95 

Garden excursions ... ... 96 

8. Law & Justice ... ... ... 99 

Establishment of Courts ... ... 99 

Sentences ... ... ... 103 

Punishments ... ... ... 107 

Difficulty in obtaining Justice ... ... 109 

9. The Calcutta Press ... ... ... Ill 

Early newspapers &: journals ... ... Ill 

Light literature ... ... ... 117 

Scientific & useful ... ... ... 118 

Vernacular Press ... ... ... 123 



Bengali literature 

Translation of popular vernacular songs 

Working of the censorship 

Fugitive notices of the Press 

10. The Press of the Upper Provinces 

1 1 . Education 

Education in its infancy 

Private schools 

National Institution 

Public Class Schools 

Charitable Institutions 

Fort William College 

Mission Schools 

Government Colleges 

School Society 

Education in the Upper Provinces 

12. Scientific ^- Other Associations 

Bethune Society 

Asiatic Society of Bengal 

Agricultural & Horticultural Society 


13. Duelling 

14. Suttee 

15. Thuggism 

16. Art in India 

Tilly Kettle ... ... 

William Hodges 

Johann Zoffany 

Thomas Longcroft 

Robert Home 

George Chinnery 

Mr. Hickey 

George Farington 

Ozias Hamphrey 

Thomas, William &; Samuel Daniell 




John Smart ... ... ... 231 

Arther William Devis ... ... 232 

Charles Smith ... ... ... 235 

James Wales ... ... ... 236 

John Alefounder ... ... ... 237 

Francis Swain Ward ... ... 238 

Samuel Howitt ... ... ... 238 

Henry Salt ... ... ... 239 

William Westall ... ... ... 239 

William John Huggins ... ... 240 

George Beechey ... ... ... 240 

Miscellaneous ... ... ... 241 

17. Gossip about People ... ... ... 242 

Mrs. Johnson (Begum Johnson) ... ... 242 

An eccentric character ... ... 243 

Young Bengal in 1780 ... ... 243 

Funeral of Hindoo Rao ... ... 244 

John Farquhar ... ... ... 245 

John Shipp ... ... ... 245 

Sir John Malcolm's Facetiousness ... 246 

Tiger Wood ... ... ... 247 

Lieutenant General Clieland ... ... 248 

Thomas Corvat ... ... ... 248 

Lois Bonnand ... ... ... 249 

Colonel Martinez ... ... 250 

Rev. George Crawfurd ... ... 250 

A veteran Madras Doctor ... ... 252 

Begum Sumroo and Lord Lake ... ... 253 

Mrs. Carey of Black Hole Notoriety ... 253 

General Avitabile's daughter ... ... 254 

Henry Vansitart ... ... ... 254 

Madame Grand ... ... ... 255 

The two brothers Skinner ... ... 256 

Sir Herbert Edwardes ... ... 256 

Mons. Raymond ... ... ... 257 

Sir Thomas Rumbold ... ... 257 

Hadjee Mustapah ... ... ... 258 

Charles Schmaltze, the inventor of the flute 258 




Sir Charles Napier . . . 

Lord Clive 

General George Thomas and his 

Lord Clive's moderation 

Robberies and Dacoity 

I>fDiAN Jugglers . ... 

Travelling in India 

Eastern City 








1600 TO 1858 


Good Old Days 


Honorable John Company 


Looked at from a chronological point of view the 
earliest historical record we have of Europeans in the East 
is dated B. C. 550, when Scylax is said to have first visited 
India. He was sent by Darius to explore the Indus, and 
published an account of his journey, which related to his 
Greek countrymen many astonishing tales of a traveller. 
Herodotus, in his short account of India, followed Scylax as 
an authority. But it was not until the expedition of 
Alexander (327 B. C.) that a body of able observers, trained 
in the school of Aristotle, were enabled to give accurate 
ideas to Europe of the condition of India. Of these writers, 
Megasthenes is by far the most important. He lived at the 
court of Chandragupta, and probably passed some years 
in India. According to him, the Indian state to which he 
was accredited, the military force of which consisted of 
600,000 infantry, 30.000 cavalry and 9,000 elephants, was 
better organized and displayed more wisdom in internal 
government and police arrangements than any country in 
Europe could boast of. 

Long before the first English traders landed, the 
Portuguese had settled in India. 

Vasco de Gama was the first to brave the stormy passage 
round that Cape, which had baffled so many previous 
attempts, and which had then been called the Cape of 
Storms ; and on the 22nd May in 1498, with a handful of 
equally daring companions, he set foot in Calicut. 


Of Calicut, where the Zamorin, the successor of the 
Tamari Rajahs, once Hved in regal splendour, but few traces 
of its old magnificence are now left. The once capacious 
haven has been drifted up by sand. Its great Brahminical 
monastery is in ruins : and to the traveller viewing it from 
the point from which it had first been seen by the followers 
of Vasco, nothing is discernible beyond a few lines of huts 
shaded by cocoanut or palmyra trees. Twelve years later 
the forces of Albuquerque plundered the town and burnt 
the palace of its kings. 

By a series of bold exploits the Portuguese had extend- 
ed their settlements from the Coast of Malabar to the 
Persian Gulf ; and a century had not elapsed, when they 
had achieved fresh conquests, had explored the Indian 
Ocean as far as Japan, and had astonished Europe 
with the story of gigantic fortunes rapidly amassed. 
It was not long after, that the example thus set by Portugal 
was followed by the other European states ; and English, 
Danish, and French factories rose alongside of the factories 
built by the Portuguese. 

The first European factory established in India was 
formed by the Portuguese at Calicut under Pedro Alvarez 
Cabral, in 1500. The first European fortress was also 
erected in that place by the same nation, commanded by 
the famous Alphonso de Albuquerque three years after- 
wards, or in 1503. 

Goa, on the Malabar Coast, was captured by the Portu- 
guese under Albuquerque in 1506. The strong fortress on 
the island of Diu was built by the Portuguese in 1535. It 
sustained two memorable sieges in 1537-38 and 1546, res- 
pectively, but was captured by the Arabs in 1668, when 
the Portuguese power in India had already begun to 

In 1530 the Portuguese captured the town of Surat. 

For more than a hundred years after the discovery of 
the Cape of Good Hope by Vasco de Gama, the profitable 
traffic of the Indian seas was monopolised by the Portuguese. 
Other nations being too weak to dispute their pretensions 
to oceanic sovereignty were compelled to purchase Indian 
merchandize at Lisbon, which city consequently soon be- 


came one of the richest and most populous of European 

When, however, the Spaniards discovered another 
passage to India by the Straits of Magellan, they claimed 
the special sovereignty of the new sea road and endeavoured 
to prevent ships of all other nations from floating on those 
waters. So strong was their opposition for a time that the 
English endeavoured to discover a new road for themselves 
by way of a north-eastern, a north-western or even a northern 
passage directly over the pole, to India. 

War broke out between the Portuguese and Dutch at 
the end of the sixteenth century, in '^n hich the latter proved 
the stronger, and supplanted the Portuguese in their Indian 
trade and chief settlements. 

The Dutch, while subject to Spain, contented them- 
selves with purchasing Indian merchandize at Lisbon. But 
upon the revolt of the Netherlands and the creation of the 
United Provinces, they determined upon wresting from 
their former masters the profits arising from the Indian 

In 1580 the Spanish and Portuguese dominions were 
united under the Spanish crown, and the Dutch were 
excluded from all trade with Lisbon, and their ships con- 
fiscated, and owners imprisoned. One of the captains, while 
in prison, obtained from some Portuguese sailors a full 
account of the Indian seas, and on his return home so 
stirred the hearts of his countrymen by relating what he 
had heaid, that they immediately fitted out eight vessels 
for the East ; four fully armed were to sail round the Cape 
of Good Hope and the rest were to attempt the north-eastern 
passage. The latter merely discovered Nova Zembla ; the 
former reached Java, and notwithstanding the most strenu- 
ous opposition offered by the Portuguese then established at 
Bantam, managed to open up trade with the East. In 1598 
four separate fleets were fitted out for the East, and from 
this time the Dutch seem to have firmly established them- 
selves in the East Indies. 

They were scattered all over this country early in the 
seventeenth century, and Bernier, writing from Delhi, under 
date the 1st July 1663, says : "The Dutch have a malt 


factory in Agra, in which they generally keep four or five 
persons ;" and further on he mentions "the Dutch establish- 
ments at Bengal, Patna, Surat or Ahmedabad." 

In 1752 the Dutch had a factory at Baranagar, situated 
about five miles to the north of Calcutta, which was con- 
sidered as an Indian Wapping ; soldiers deserting and sailors 
leaving English vessels, were accustomed to escape to this 
settlement, where under the Dutch flag they were safe from 



Of the many changes which have taken place in India, 
none have been fraught with so many great results as that 
which has placed under British rule the teeming popula- 
tions of this great empire, the race of the builders of Ellora, 
and the rock-excavated temples of Elephanta and Mahavelli- 
pore, and the heirs of the great Mogul. 

The history of India during that early period, when the 
first intercourse of the British nation with India com- 
menced, must always be interesting. We shall endeavour, 
therefore, to record those events — half political, half com- 
mercial — which ended in the establishment of the first 
Company on a durable basis. 

At no period of British history had the love of mari- 
time enterprise been so great. The spirit of commerce, 
once fairly roused, began rapidly to develop itself. Trading 
companies were formed. The successes of Cabot, of Vasco 
de Gama, and Albuquerque, had fired the imagination, and 
excited the cupidity, of the English nation. Private gentle- 
men offered to accompany the expeditions then manned as 
volunteers. English nobles mortgaged their estates, and 
sold their plate to equip small fleets of their own. 

So early as the reign of Henry VIII and Edward VI, 
efforts were made to reach India by a north-eastern passage. 
Thorne, an English merchant, who had lived nearly all his 
life in Seville, returned to lay his project of a north-west 
passage before Henry VIII. The great object was then, if 
possible, to effect a passage to India by a route which would 
enable the English to trade with India without giving 
umbrage to the Portuguese. Sir Hugh Willoughby endeav- 
oured to discover a passage to the East Indies, and sailed to 
Norway, but was met with a storm so severe at the North 
Cape, that his boldest mariners quailed, and with his entire 
crew was wrecked off the shores of Lapland. Martin 
Frobisher manned a pinnance and two boats, and ardently 


endeavoured to discover a passage by steering north-west 
through Hudson's Bay. A few years later, Captain Davis 
with greater success sailed further north, and gave his name 
to the straits which he had discovered. Most of the voyages 
had been unsuccessful ; but the hopes once entertained of 
reaching India by sailing west were never abandoned, and 
were at a later period destined to meet with success. 

Two events tended to hasten the formation of a Com- 
pany for India. One was the memorable voyage of Sir 
Francis Drake from Plymouth to Java, by the Pacific Ocean ; 
the other was the equally successful voyage, by the same 
route, of Thomas Cavendish. 

Both Francis Drake and Cavendish made the voyage 
round the world ; both had proved themselves to be naval 
commanders of no ordinary type. But to Sir Francis Drake 
must undoubtedly belong the honor of having been the 
first Englishman, and the first British naval commander, 
who had succeeded in making that remarkable voyage. 

The son of a clergyman, Francis Drake early evinced 
his love of daring adventure. In 1567 he sailed with his 
kinsman. Sir John Hawkins, to the Bay of Mexico. Three 
years later, he commanded an expedition to the West Indies. 
Subsequently we read of him sacking the town of Nombre 
de Dios. It was then he fancied he discovered, from an 
elevation on some high range of hills, glimpses of that great 
ocean which divided India from America. He returned to 
obtain the royal permission to equip a fleet and lead an 
expedition which would, for boldness of design, have vied 
with that of Magellan. After cruising about the western 
coasts of America, and after having taken much plunder, 
he left America to sail across that apparently illimitable 
ocean on which but one ship had as yet ventured. 

The passage was a fortunate one. Land was at last 
reached. The intrepid sailor landed, and learnt that the 
island was called Ternate, one of the group of the Moluccas. 
In this visit was laid the foundation of the commercial 
intercourse from which influences so vast should sub- 
sequently spring. Drake was received by the king with 
pleasure. He was shown over the island, introduced to the 
court, invited to the palace. 


At the time when Drake's vessel anchored at Ternate, 
the sovereign of that island was at enmity with the Portu- 
guese, who had settlements in Java, and who had already 
been established between them and the islanders of 
Malaysia, or the Malayan Archipelago. This island, the 
most \'aluable of the Malacca group, was then governed by 
a king who ruled also over seventy other islands. Those 
islands were then, as they are now, famed for their trade 
in cinnamon, cloves, ivory, and horns. 

Sailing southwards, Drake's attention was attracted by 
a chain of hills on one of the adjacent islands ; and landing, 
he was struck with the wondrous fertility of the island of 
Java. Java had not yet attained to the celebrity it subse- 
quently did as a model Dutch settlement. 

As at Ternate, the palms and cocoanuts, the thick 
vegetation, and the tropical foliage, added to the interest 
of the scene ; and prolonging his stay for a few days, Drake 
set sail steering for that passage by the Cape, then exclu- 
sively claimed by the Portuguese, but which subsequently 
was destined, for nearly half a century, to be the high road 
of the commerce between the East and the West. 

The crew of the vessel commanded by Drake found 
that the navigation of the Cape of Good Hope was not so 
dangerous, the seas round the Cape not so tempestuous, as 
they had imagined ; and after a voyage, which was pro- 
tracted over a space of two years and ten months, they had 
the good fortune of anchoring safely in Plymouth Sound. 

If the expedition of Sir Francis Drake was successful, 
that of Thomas Ca\endish to the East Indies was not less 
so. On the 21st July 1586, he set sail for the East with 
three vessels. He crossed the Atlantic, committed some 
depredations on the American coast, captured a rich 
Spanish frigate, visited the islands of the Indian Archi- 
pelago, touched at one of the Ladrone Islands and at Java, 
and after effecting an exchange trade with the natives of 
those islands, returned by the Cape to England, and 
anchored at Plymouth. 

The results of these t^vo expeditions fired the genius 
of the English nation, and led to the coalition of the com- 
pany of merchant adventurers who first undertook to lay 


the scheme before the public of trading on an extensive 
scale with India. 

On the last day of the 16th century, the London East 
India Company was formed at the house of Alderman God- 
dard, or Founders' Hall, where the parties assembled 
determined upon measures to equip certain vessels "upon 
a purely mercantile bottom." 

Some four or five years before the death of Akbar 
Queen Elizabeth granted a charter with certain privi- 
leges to a company of London merchants, just at the 
time that the Dutch East India Company was established, 
whose first attempt to trade on the Malabar Coast was nearly 
coincident with the arrival of the London Company's first 
ships at Surat. 

The privileges conceded to the London Company enabl- 
ed them to purchase lands without limitations, and to have 
a monopoly of trade for fifteen years with the East Indies. 

In the year 1600, the consent of the Government was 
obtained to equip a fleet of five ships for an Indian voyage. 
Captain James Lancaster commanded the fleet ; and thirty- 
six factors, on salaries varying with their different trusts, 
accompanied it. On the 2nd of May, 1601, the vessels set 
sail from Torbay. After a prosperous voyage they landed 
at Acheen in Sumatra. The natives were tractable, and 
readily entered into a treaty of commerce ; and for such 
articles or implements of iron ware as Lancaster's crew had 
with them, they ofi^ered in exchange those natural products 
of their island — pepper and benzoin, cassia and camphor, 
aloes, spices and fruits. Amicable arrangements having 
been concluded, the vessels set sail for Java. 

Captain Lancaster leaving an agent behind, returned 
in 1603 to England, after making a considerable percentage 
of profits for his employers, the East India Company of 

In the year 1600 John Maidenhall, a merchant, was 
deputed to the court of Akbar. No records are left of the 
results of that embassy beyond the fact that he obtained a 
firman, was well received at court, and that he returned in 
a few years to England, but that subsequently revisiting 
India he died at Agia. 


It was during the reign of Jehangeer, that two missions 
were sent from England to his court: the first by the East 
India Company, conducted by Captain Hawkins, for the 
purpose of opening up a commercial intercourse with 
India ; the second by the celebrated Sir Thomas Roe as 
ambassador from King James I. Hawkins after much diffi- 
culty arrived at Agra on the 16th April 1609, and being 
able to speak Turkish was most favourable received by the 
Emperor, who subsequently insisted on his marrying a 
young Armenian lady. He succeeded in obtaining the 
royal promise for an unlimited extension of the English 
trade ; but being opposed by a violent party, the Jesuits, 
then possessed of great influence at the Mogul court, was 
at the end of two and-a-half years obliged to quit Agra, 
without having effected any of the objects of his mission. 

The only advantage resulting from Hawkins' voyage 
was the promise alluded to respecting the establishment of 
a factory at Surat on the Bombay coast. 

The establishment of the factory al Surat was even- 
tually effected by a daring mariner named Best, who des- 
pite the impediment and resistance offered him by the 
Portuguese, boldly proceeded in 1611 to the promised set- 
tlement ; upon which the Emperor gave a firman that pro- 
vided for the residence of an English plenipotentiary at 
Surat, and an authority for his countrymen to trade fully, 
openly and without impediment. 

Best, being as shrewd as he was determined, well knew 
that this concession was produced more through fear than 
any other cause, and therefore determined to avail himself 
of so favorable an opportunity, and demanded and 
obtained a ceremonious acknowledgment of his rights from 
the native authorities. He thereupon established the long 
desired factory ; and having accomplished this returned 
home in 1613. having laid the foundation of a sure and 
profitable trade. 

The first impressions of Surat were not calculated to 
impress the English favorably with the wealth and the 
civilisation of India. Nearly half a century later, Traver- 
nier, in that pleasant and graphic style which makes his 
travels so readable and interesting, described Surat as "a 


town with a wretched fort, with dwelHngs built of mud 
which resemble barns, shut in by reeds dabbed with wattle 
and mud." A century later, in manufacturing and com- 
mercial prosperity it rivalled Bombay, when Bombay had 
not yet attained to political or maritime importance. 

Best was ably succeeded by Captain Downton, who 
upon his arrival at Surat in 1615, found but three factors, 
as they were then termed, who had been appointed by his 
predecessor ; intrigue or interest had caused the dispersion 
of the remainder. Downton's measures produced much 
animosity towards him from European interests, and con- 
siderable native injustice. These, coupled with the un- 
healthiness of the climate, caused his death in the ensuing 
August. He was a vigorous and talented man, and per- 
fected the arrangement connected with the factory, or as it 
was then termed "the English house," which he placed 
under the management of n head factor named Kerridge. 

A curious illustration of the rapid growth of an Indian 
town might be found in tiie rise of Surat. In 1530, ^vhen 
the Portuguese had first captured the town, its population 
was estimated at 10.000 only. In 1538, that population 
had increased to 133,544. 

In the year 1557, so greatly had the town increased in 
importance, that the East India Company ordered that the 
administration of all its possessions should be placed under 
the direct control of the president and council of Surat. 

Until 1614 all transactions with native powers had 
been carried on by the Company's agent, but it was now 
resolved to try the effect of a royal mission, and Sir Thomas 
Roe was deputed as ambassador to the court of the Emperor 
Jehangeer. He sailed from Gravesend on the 6th March 
1615, and arrived at Surat on the 26th of September. 
Thence he proceeded to Boorhanpore, where he was gra- 
ciously received by the governor of the province. After a 
short residence with that prince, Sir Thomas advanced to 
the royal residence at A j mere. He reached that city on 
the 23rd December, but did not obtain an audience of the 
monarch till the 10th January, 1616. 

The object of this embassy was twofold: (1) to arrange 
a definite treaty ; and (2) to recover a large amount of 


money alleged to be owing by the courtiers and ministers 
of the Emperor. 

On delivering the royal letter sent by the English sove- 
reign, the Mogul Emperor received Sir Thomas Roe with 
as much consideration as it was in his nature to bestow on 
any ambassador ; he offered to redress some of the grievan- 
ces complained of, and ratified a treaty by which he con- 
ceded to the English nation the right to establish factories 
and to trade with any part of the Mogul empire, Surat and 
Bengal especially. 

At his court Sir Thomas remained four years, and 
after successfully overcoming many impediments thrown in 
his way, he returned, having recovered all bribes, extor- 
tions and debts, from the courtiers and ministers of the 
court, and further obtained permission to establish another 
factory at Baroach. 

The curious and interesting account left by him of the 
court and camp of the Great Mogul, forms one of the most 
important accessions to works on oriental literature and 
oriental politics. During his residence in the East, he 
made some valuable collections of ancient manuscripts. 

The vessel that conveyed Roe to his destination, was 
commanded by a "General" Keeling, who endeavoured to 
found a factory at Cranganore, but failed in his efforts, the 
factors availing themselves of the first favorable opportu- 
nity of escaping with their property to Calicut, where was 
established the factory, whose looms soon obtained an 
European celebrity, and which they retained, until British 
skill and capital removed the seat of manufacture from 
India to Manchester. 

The feeling of jealousy engendered by the concession 
alluded to above on the part of the Mogul Emperor, was 
not allowed to remain long dormant. Open hostilities were 
soon commenced by the Portuguese, \vhose fleet burnt the 
town of Baroach. Another fleet commanded by the Portu- 
guese Viceroy in person anchored off Swally. The na\'al 
engagements which followed, proved disastrous to the pres- 
tige which the Portuguese had already acquired ; and the 
Mogul court, without offering any interference, looked 
with pleasure on the checks thus given to an enemy whose 


encroachments, and whose power they had aUke learnt to 
view with anxiety, if not with dismay. 

For several years after Best, Downton and Roe, we 
have no authentic documents upon which reliance can be 
placed ; but this much is certain, that debauchery and 
peculation of the most flagrant character usurped the place 
of good government in Surat. The oldest despatch of the 
factory is dated July 26th, and it affords little information ; 
but from other sources we learn that the Company's agents 
were then negotiating with the Emperor of Golconda for 
an extension of their trade to Hindostan. Surat at this 
period had become a position of considerable importance, 
and was destined to be the point of radiation, whence the 
commercial spirit of Britain should thrust forward its then 
infantine powers. 

About the year 1636, Methwold, who was president at 
Surat, returned to England, and was succeeded by Fremlin, 
and the latter by Francis Benton, whose monument in the 
cemetery at Surat bears testimony to his exertions, and 
declares, that "for five years he discharged his duties with 
the greatest diligence and strictest integrity." Then fol- 
lowed Captain Jeremy Blackman, whose appointment is 
dated 1651. 

Dr. Fryer, a surgeon in the Company's service, visited 
Surat in 1674, ^vhen the English factories were in their 
zenith. The factors lived in spacious houses and in great 
style. The salary of the president, according to Fryer, was 
"£500 a year, half paid here, the other half reserved to be 
received at home, in case of misdemeanor to make satisfac- 
tion, beside a bond of £5,000 sterling of good securities. 
The accountant has £72 per annum. £50 paid here, the 
other at home. All the rest are half paid here, half at home, 
except the writers, "who have all been paid here." 

Surat was governed by a Company's "agent" till the 
restoration of Charles II when a president was sent out. 
At this time the Surat Government employed "forty sail of 
stout ships to and from all parts where they trade out and 
home ; manning and maintaining their island Bombay, 
Fort St. George and St. Helens." The last agent at Surat 
was named Rivinton ; he was succeeded by President 


Wynch, who lived only two years, and was succeeded by 
Andrews, who resigning, Sir George Oxendine took his 
place, and continued to hold the office till his death. It was 
during his presidentship that Sivajee plundered Surat. He 
was succeeded by the Hon'ble Gerald Aungier, who fought 
against Sivajee and repulsed him. 

In 1615 a piece of ground was obtained at Armegaun, 
from the Naik or local chief, and a factory built thereon, 
which in 1628 was described as being defended by "twelve 
pieces of cannon and twenty-eight factors and soldiers." 

The English having a valuable trade on the Coroman- 
del Coast, were desirous of obtaining a territory which they 
could fortify. After several ineffectual attempts to obtain 
such land from the Moguls, they at length succeeded in buy- 
ing a piece from a Hindu prince, the Rajah of Chandra- 
geeri, which was afterwards called Madras. This was in 
1639. For the strip of land (six miles long and one mile 
wide) the English paid an annual rent of £600. There was 
a small island in the strip facing the sea ; this was fortified 
by a wall and fortress, to secure the residents against the 
predatory attacks of native horsemen. In granting the land 
to the English the Rajah expressly stipulated that the 
English town should be called after him. Sri Ranga 
Rajapatanam. The grant was engraven on a plate 
of gold. The English kept the plate tor more than a cen- 
tury ; it was lost in 1746 at the capture of Madras by the 
French. On the Naik of Chingleput coming into power, 
he ordered that the town should be called China-patanam ; 
this name the English afterwards changed to Madras. 

In 1653 Madras was raised to the rank of a presidency. 

Little or nothing is known of Madras in those early 
days previous to 1670. In 1672, however, we find Madras 
was an important place. The government was carried on 
in the same way as at Surat. The governor drew a yearly 
salary of £300 ; the second in council £100 ; the third £70 ; 
and the fourth only £50. Factors were paid between £20 
and £40. Writers received only £10, and apprentices £5. 
But all were lodged and boarded at the expense of the 
Company. Sir William Langhorn was governor of Madras 
from 1670 to 1677, and when he retired, he was succeeded 


by a gentleman named Streynsham Masters. In 1683 Mr. 
William Gayfford was made governor. At this period Mr. 
Josiah Child was chairman of the Court of Directors. 

About 1688 there was a great change in the fortunes 
of Madras. The Sultan of Golconda was conquered by 
Aurungzebe and consequently the English settlement of 
Madras was brought under the paramount power of the 
Great Mogul. During the following ten years, there were 
great dissensions between the Mahrattas and the Moguls. 
In 1706 Daood Khan became Nawab of the Carnatic. Mr. 
Thomas Pitt was governor of Madras. 

In 1636 the Emperor of Delhi, having a beloved 
daughter seriously ill, was informed by one of the nobles of 
his court, of the skill exhibited by European practitioners 
of medicine, and was induced to apply to the president of 
Surat for aid in his extremity. Upon this Mr. Gabriel 
Boughton, surgeon of the ship Hopeivell, was directed to 
proceed to Delhi, and render his professional services. "This 
he did with such success, that the imperial favors were 
liberally bestowed upon him, and in particular he obtained 
a patent, permitting him to trade, without paying any 
duties, throughout the Emperor's dominions," The bene- 
fits of this concession would prabably have been very 
doubtful, had his good fortune not followed him to Bengal, 
where he cured a favorite mistress of the Nawab, ^vho in 
gratitude confirmed all his privileges, which were thus 
employed : — "The generous surgeon did not in his pros- 
perity forget his former employers, but advanced the Com- 
pany's interests, by contriving that his privileges should be 
extended to them. Having done so, he wrote an account 
of his success to the factory of Surat, and the next year a 
profitable trade was opened in the rich provinces of 

The natural advantages of Bombay did not escape the 
notice of the Company, who hoped to gain possession of it 
as early as 1627. "In that year," writes the Rev. Mr. 
Anderson, "a joint expedition of Dutch and English ships, 
under the command of a Dutch General, Harman Van 
Speult. had sailed from Surat with the object of forming an 
establishment here, as well as of attacking the Portuguese 


in the Red Sea. This plan was defeated by the death of 
Van Speult, but in 1653 the President and Council of Surat 
again brought the subject under the consideration of the 
Directors, pointing out ho^v convenient it would be to have 
some insular and fortified station, -^vhich might be defend- 
ed in times of lawless \iolence, and giving it as their 
opinion that for a consideration, the Portuguese would 
allow them to take possession of Bombay and Bassein." 
This suggestion, which was submitted to Cromwell, 
remained unacted upon. But in 1661, the Portuguese 
Government, upon the marriage of the Infanta Catherina 
with Charles II, ceded the long-wished-for island to Eng- 
land as the Infanta's dower. Accordingly a fleet of five 
ships, under the Earl of Marlborough, arrived in the Bom- 
bay harbour on the 18th September of that year, to take 

But the Portuguese were unwilling to resign a place 
so richly endowed by nature, and reftised the English 
demands. Marlborough, not having the means of reduc- 
ing the place, was compelled to leave the island and return 
to England. After Marlborough's departure the Portu- 
guese permitted Cook (who commanded the few soldiers 
remaining of the body that had been brought out,) to 
occupy the place, but subject to most humiliating terms. 
The government being dissatisfied with Cook's proceedings, 
Sir Gervase Lucas was appointed, in 1666, in his room, who 
soon brought the Portuguese into good behaviour, but he 
died on the 21st May of the following year. He was suc- 
ceeded by Captain Gary. 

The island not having proved commensurate with the 
expectations of the king, he made it o\er by royal charter 
to the Honorably Company, "upon payment of an 
annual rent of £10 in gold on the 30th September in each 
year." On receipt of the copy of the charter in 1668, Sir 
George Oxenden, then president of Surat, was appointed 
governor of Bombay. The island ^vas soon found to be of 
importance, its military strength was increased, and forti- 
fications built to guard the harbour and the settlement. 

In 1672 the island was invaded by the Siddees, a 
pov>^erful and dangerous neighbouring people, whose de- 


predations were after a time put a stop to by force and 

Some idea of the absurdities of the times may be drawn 
from the pomp with which the president used to mo\e 
about. The Rev. Mr. Anderson, from whose work these 
details are obtained writes : — "He had a standard-bearer 
and body-guard, composed of a sergeant and a double file 
of English soldiers. Forty natives also attended him. At 
dinner, each course was ushered in by a sound of trumpets, 
and his ears were regaled by a band of music. Whenever 
he left his private rooms, he was preceded by his attendants 
with silver wands. On great occasions when he issued from 
the factory, he appeared on horseback, or in a palanquin, 
or a coach drawn by milk-white oxen. Horses with 
silver bridles followed, and an umbrella of state was carried 
before him." This pomp and extravagance the Directors 
wisely strove to check, and they distinctly informed their 
president that it would afford them much greater satisfac- 
tion were he to suppress such unmeaning show and osten- 
tation. And the more effectually to compass their wishes, 
they reduced his salary to three hundred pounds a year,, 
and dignified him simply with the title of Agent. 

The expense of fortifying Bombay not having been 
covered by the revenue, the Company became burdened 
with debt, and determined to reduce the number of their 
military, and consequently the entire "establishment was 
reduced to two lieutenants, two ensigns, four sergeants, four 
corporals and a hundred and eighty privates. No batta was 
to be paid the detachment at Surat ; the troop of horse was 
disbanded, and Keigwin, its commandant, dismissed from 

Keigwin, who was a man of energy and decision, forth- 
with went to England, and remonstrated against such un- 
just and impolitic proceedings, and made such an impres- 
sion on the Court of Directors that he was invited to return 
and lend the aid of his experience to the Company in their 
embarrassed position. He immediately complied, and 
would doubtless have arranged everything satisfactorily, 
but to his chagrin, in twelve months after his return, he 
found the Home authorities had revoked a portion of his 



official control, and reduced his pay to a miserable pittance. 
Disgusted with such treatment, and having a strong pub- 
lic sympathy, he declared his secession from the Company 
and that the inhabitants of Bombay were subjects only of 
the King of England. In this declaration he was supported 
by the majority of the residents. "When the intelligence 
reached England that Bombay had revolted and the presi- 
dent had not been able to reduce it to order, the King 
commanded the Court of Directors to appoint a Secret 
Committee of Enquiry. Upon their report His Majesty 
sent a mandate under his signed manual to Keig^vin, requir- 
ing him to deliver up the island, and offering a general 
pardon to all except the ring-leaders. It was further 
declared that if Keigwin and his followers offered any 
resistance, all should be denounced as rebels and 

Harsh measures were hoA\^ever rendered unneces- 
sary by the immediate recognition of the King's 
authority by the whole of the population. Keigwin hav- 
ing obtained a promise of free pardon for himself and 
supporters, surrendered the island to Sir Thomas Gran- 
tham on the 12th November 1684. "Such was a revolt 
which happily began and ended without bloodshed. Alarm- 
ing as it was and dangerous to the existence of Anglo-Indian 
power, it forms an episode in our history of which we are 
not ashamed. Keigwin emerges from the troubled sea of 
rebellion with a reputation for courage, honor and admi- 
nistrative capacity : on the other hand, the clemency of 
the Crown and Company is worthy of all admiration." 
Some few cases of hardship were doubtless experienced, but 
upon the whole it was a bold sedition, nobly forgiven and 
terminated in a juster treatment of the officials, without 
compromising the integrity of the Company. 

Upon the suppression of Keigwin's rebellion. Sir John 
Wyburn was despatched as deputy governor to Bombay. 
But John Child, the governor, finding the new deputy too 
independent to lend himself to the perpetration of the 
various schemes of aggression which had been concocted by 
Sir Josiah Child and his brother Directors at home, means 
were employed for depriving Wyburn of his appointment ; 


but fortunately he did not live to experience that modi- 

The aggression here referred to was the first attempt 
on the part of the Company to exercise authority over or 
dictate terms to the Indian rulers. With this intent Bom- 
bay was ordered to be fortified as strongly as money could 
make it, and "the Court of Directors pompously announced 
that they were determined to make war, not only on the 
Nawab of Bengal, but in the sequel, upon the Emperor 
himself. Nor was this sufficient," says the writer from 
whom we have quoted ; "they actually ordered their gene- 
ral to seize the goods of the King of Siam, Bantam and 
Zombi as reparation for injuries received." 

Emperor Aurungzebe naturally became indignant 
at these threats, at several piratical acts of the English on 
the coast of Bengal, and still more so when he learnt that 
his governor at Surat had been insulted by the British 
authorities. Upon demanding from Child some explana- 
tion, the latter instead of entering on such, in his turn 
made numerous demands from the governor of Surat, who, 
thereupon on the 26th December, 1688, "seized and impri- 
soned the factors, Harris and Gladman, and ordered all the 
goods of the Company to be sold, and offered a large reward 
to any one who would take Child, dead or alive." The 
general having failed by negotiation to obtain the release 
of Harris and Gladman, now exhibited his real character, 
and captured several native ships, besides forty vessels laden 
with provisions for the Mogul army. Besides which he 
behaved with great arrogance to his admiral the Siddee, 
"and told him plainly that if his fleet ventured to sea, he 
would assume their intentions as hostile and deal with 
them as enemies." Instead, however, of carrying out this 
threat, and adopting means for securing the safety of 
Bombay, he merely acted upon the defensive. 

"With an unaccountable infatuation the English gov- 
ernor had neglected to strengthen the fortifications of 
Bombay, although the Court of Directors had so urgently 
reminded him that this was necessary ; and on the 14th 
February, 1689, the Siddee landed at Sewri with twenty or 
^wenty-five thousand men, and at one o'clock in the mor- 


ning three guns from the castle apprised the inhabitants of 
their danger. Then might be seen European and Native 
^\•omen rushing with their children from their houses, and 
seeking refuge within the fort. Next morning the Siddee 
marched to Mazagon, where was a small fort mounting 
fourteen guns, which the English abandoned with such 
haste, that they left behind them eight or ten chests of 
treasure, besides arms and ammunition. Here the Siddee 
established his head-quarters, and dispatched a small force 
to take possession of Mahim fort, also deserted. The fol- 
loAving day the enemy advanced, and the general ordered 
Captain Penn with two companies to drive them back, but 
he and his little party were defeated. Thus the Siddee 
became master of the whole island, with the exception of 
the castle, and a small tract extending about half a mile to 
the southward of it. He raised batteries on Dongari Hill, 
and placed one within two hundred yards of the fort. All 
persons on whom the English authorities could lay hands 
were pressed into their service." 

Thus passed the months from April to September ; 
and provisions ran scarce ; but when the monsoon was 
over, "the Company's cruisers, being able to put to sea, 
were so successful in capturing vessels and supplies belong- 
ing to the Mogul's subjects, that distress ^vas alleviated." 
Still the danger was imminent. The Siddee's army had 
been increased to forty thousand fighting men, and the 
English troops Avhich never amounted to more than two 
thousand five hundred, dared not venture to meet them in 
the field. 

Child now perceived that negotiation was his only 
resource, and that the most abject submission would alone 
assuage the Emperor's wrath. He accordingly despatched 
two envoys, named Weldon and Novar, to the Mogul court. 
They were treated with the utmost indignity, and after 
much suffering were admitted to the Emperor's presence as 
culprits, with their hands tied behind them. He listened 
to their entreaties, and at length consented to an accommo- 
dation, on condition "that all monies due from them to his 
subjects should be paid ; that recompense should be made 
for such losses as the Moguls had sustained, and that the 


hateful Sir John Child should leave India before the expi- 
ration of nine months." Thus terminated this unfortunate 
act of bombast, by which the Company, both in money and 
reputation, was a severe sufferer, as well in England as in 

Harris, who with several other factors had been 
released after great sufferings, succeeded to the president- 
ship of Surat and governorship of Bombay. He was a weak, 
incompetent person, and was soon relieved of his appoint- 
ment by Annesley Vaux, who after two years' service, was 
himself dismissed for violating the law against interlopers. 
In 1692, Captain (afterwards Sir John). Goldesborough 
was appointed Commissary General with absolute powers. 
His death in 1694 afforded an opening for the appointment 
of Sir John Gayer, a man of good character and ability, but 
whose efforts were frustrated by events beyond his control. 

The conflicts between the old and new Companies now 
commenced, and were carried on with unflinching tenacity. 
Mutual opposition ensued, and after severe losses on both 
sides, a compromise was eventually effected. The new 
Company managed to secure the ser\'ices of Waite, Pitt, 
Mather, Annesley and Bourchier, who had been servants of 
the old Company ; they were men of great experience and 
integrity, and now embarked zealously in the establish- 
ments of their new employers. To the secessions were 
added in 1699, those of Mewse and Brooke, much to the 
consternation of the president. Sir John Gayer ; and this 
defection was speedily followed by the arrival of Sir Nicho- 
las Waite as president of the new Company, on the 11th 
January, 1700. 


At the commencement of the Company's commercial 
operations in India, the trade was not extensive ; but small 
as the Company's power to trade was, limited as their means 
were, the profits were nevertheless large. It was not un- 
common to make 100 per cent, of profit on their capital ; 
and in some cases it even exceeded that percentage. The 
extensiveness of the profits made it desirable that a stricter 
monopoly of the trade should be secured by charter. Thus, 
on the accession of Charles, on the renewal of the charter, 
one of the provisions enacted that any Englishman found 
trading without a license might be seized, imprisoned, and 
returned to England. Such was the commencement of 
that policy which for more than a century influenced the 
Government of India. That it was a policy which was not 
productive of large permanent results may well be doubt- 
ed ; for it was a policy which was based on the restrictive 
regulations of a monopoly, and not upon those of a liberal 
or colonial trade. 

The early history of the East India Company's trade 
shows how successful that policy proved in the beginning. 
That great dividends had been obtained, there cannot be 
the slightest doubt. From the debates in the Houses of 
Parliament, from the journal of the House of Commons, 
from the many pamphlets which were published at that 
time on the statistics of the trade with the East Indies, those 
gains might have been said to be almost incredible. In 
the year 1676, so large had these been, that every share- 
holder and stockholder of the old East India Company was 
paid a premium which doubled the stock he held. The 
dividends rose proportionately. Twenty per cent, was not 
considered too high as an annual dividend. The Directors 
of the old Company soon amassed enormous wealth ; rapid 
fortunes were made, and speculations ran high. It has 
been said that more than one wealthy merchant on the 


Royal Exchange hazarded the greater part o£ his fortune in 
East India shares. 

In the city of London, a large edifice, not so stately as 
the subsequent house in Leadenhall Street, or so magni- 
ficent as the pile of buildings which now look down on 
Saint James's Park, was engaged by the Directors. The 
rooms were gloomy, the passages narrow. At present the 
India House might vie with any of those majestic build- 
ings, with the exception of Buckingham Palace and the 
Houses of Parliament, which surround it. Nevertheless in 
those dingy offices, for many years the great business of the 
Company Avas carried on. Treaties were signed with 
eastern potentates ruling over vast territories larger than 
many of the continental states of Europe, and war com- 
menced or peace concluded, with nati\e chiefs governing 
races, semi-civilised it is true, but exceeding in numbers 
twenty times the population of England. 

The old traditionary and commercial policy of the 
East India Company is noAv as much a thing of the past as 
the old building in Leadenhall Street with its quaint 
facade of the Elizabethan period, and its still quainter 
figure-head and sign. From the period of the Mutiny in 
1857, we have drifted from an old into a new state of 
things. There has been a fusion of the Indian into the 
Imperial Government. The Indian army has become a 
part of the Imperial army. Even the departments of the 
old India House have merged into departments of the great 
Imperial establishment. 

The new administration required a building worthy 
of an Imperial office, and that it has one worthy in every 
way as a state office for a great empire, will not be doubted 
by those who have \ isited the present building. The archi- 
tecture is as imposing when viewed from outside as its 
decorations are graceful inside. The large tower, the 
graceful facade as viewed from Charles Street or the Park, 
the Doric columns and pilasters of the lower storey, the red 
Peterhead granitic Ionic columns of the second storey, the 
bases of the columns of red Mansfield stone, its long line 
of corridors and graceful Corinthian cornice, have placed 
this building among the most graceful of modern architec- 


tural structures. Nor is the interior less worthy of admira- 
tion. The grand staircase leading up from the Charles 
Street entrance, has four of the finest statues which the old 
East India House could offer. Leading from the entrance 
may be seen Flaxman's well kno^vn statue of Warren 
Hastings.- From it the eye may easily wander to the admir- 
ably sculptured statues of Wellesley, Wellington, Cli\e, 
and Eyre Coote. Nor are there wanting bas-reliefs. Re- 
presentations of Indian fruits and flo^vers may be seen 
among the architectural ornaments, while some striking 
incidents in Anglo-Indian history appear in bold relief — 
The signature of the treaty of Seringapatam — The surren- 
der of the arms of the Sikh chiefs — The grant of the Deccan 
to Clive, and the Reception of the Ambassador deputed by 
Queen Elizabeth at the Court of the Mogul. 

It is curious to note that not only the old statuary 
which had decorated the East India House in Leadenhall 
Street, but also much of the old furniture, is still retained 
at the new India Office. The Secretary of State still sits in 
that chair from which, years ago, the Directors of the old 
East India Company thanked Clive and Hastings for the 
great and distinguished services rendered by them in the 

At the time, however, of which we are writing, the 
Company's office in the city of London was small and un- 
pretending ; and its trade returns during the first decade, 
though highly promising, bore no comparison to its future 
magnificent proportions. 

But to resume. It was not long before a rival Com- 
pany started into being ; and the two companies obstructed 
each other ; injured each other ; maligned each other. And 
the character of the nation suffered in the eyes of the 
princes and people of India. The establishment of the 
new Company in DoAvgate, which held its sittings in Skin- 
ner's Hall, at first proved nearly fatal to the interests of the 
trade with the East Indies. But the old Company had 
wisely predicted that such a contest could not last long, 
although they did not foresee the manner in which it 
would be brought to a close. 

In 1636 Sir William Courtend obtained from Charles I. 


a license to engage in the Indian trade, and forthwith Cap- 
tain Weddel and Mr. Mountney were despatched to Surat, 
on behalf of the new Company of Merchants trading to the 
East. The president and council of Surat at first opposed 
the assumption of these gentlemen, but were at length 
obliged to yield on the receipt of a communication from 
the Secretary of State. From this time until the year 1650, 
the spirit of contension embittered the officers of both cor- 
porations, which militated against their working to advan- 
tage. A compromise was effected between them, and the 
two companies, sinking their animosities and making 
arrangements about their stocks, were consolidated into 
one ; and in the year 1702 the "United Company of 
Merchants trading to the East Indies" was prospectively 
incorporated under the Great Seal. 

Matters were finally concluded, and an agreement was 
entered into by the two companies on the 29th September 
1708, and a new governor with the title of general was 
elected, with a council for Bombay — Aislabie being the 
general, with Proby, Rendall, Goodshaw, Wyche, Mildmay, 
Boone and Oakley as members of council. 

Whilst the affairs of the two associations were being 
wound up, preparatory to their practical incorporation as 
one joint stock, all sorts of oiurages were committed. There 
was no law, there was no decency. The revenue fell off. 
The administration was at a stand-still. They were evil 
days for the dignity of Indian adventure. But when in 
1709 the United Company were fairly in operation — a 
brighter day began to dawn, the trade of the Company 
revived, and their administrative affairs recovered some- 
thing of order and regularity. 

The union of the two Companies is an epoch which 
properly closes the early history of the British in India. 
From this time the United Company commenced a new 
and wonderful career ; past struggles had left it in a state 
of exhaustion ; its advance was at first feeble and tardy. 
But it never receded a step, never even halted. Movement 
imparted fresh health, and it acquired strength by progress. 

From this time, up to the eventful day when Robert 
Clive, '"in the heavy turban and loose trousers of a Mogul," 


escaped from Madras to Pondicherry, and turned his back 
for ever on the drudgery of the desk, no very noticeable 
e\'ents, bearing upon the progress of Enghsh government in 
India, present themsehes for specific mention. But great 
events were now hurrying the Enghsh into an open mani- 
festation of national power, and their territorial possessions, 
from obscure farms, were fast swelling into rich princi- 

Clive and his little army appeared before Fort 
William, and the power of the Soubadar of Bengal was 
broken by a handful of English strangers. The French, 
who had been contending with us for the European mastery 
of the southern coast of India, had taught us how to disci- 
pline the natives of the country, and we had learned that 
these hireling troops would be true to the hand that gave 
them their salt. 

The first great battle ever fought by the English in 
India, placed Bengal at our feet. In a little while, the 
Dewannee or administration of the provinces of Bengal, 
Behar and Orissa, with all their wealth, was placed at our 
disposal by a power no longer able to stem the irresistible 
tide of European domination ; and territorial revenue now 
began to take a substantial place in the considerations of 
the East India Company, and to attract the delicate regards 
of the Crown. 


The Portuguese, Dutch, French and EngHsh merchants 
had long resorted to India for honorable trade and lawful 
gain ; communities of each of these nations had been estab- 
lished on the coasts and received such protection as could 
be given by the rulers of the land, who, though themselves 
probably despising the peaceful arts of commerce, ^vere 
not blind to the advantages they should derive from this 
enterprising spirit in others. The principal portion of the 
cargoes returned to Europe consisted of silk and cotton 
manufactures. Agencies or factories were established for 
the collection and storage of these products, against the 
arrival of the ships, so that cargoes should be ready to be 
at once shipped. Unhappily it was needful to protect these 
European factories, not only from the violence of native 
marauders, but from the aggressions and attacks of rival 
companies of other European nations. The French and 
English companies in particular long kept up an arduous 
struggle ; and aided by their respective governments, car- 
ried on senseless animosities and destructive quarrels. And 
as there was a French factory at Chandernagore on the 
Hooghly, not many miles distant from the English Factory 
at Fort William, the nucleus of Calcutta, and a Dutch 
factory at Chinsurah, on the same river, only tw^o miles 
from Chandernagore, there might seem to be additional 
need that the English should place and keep their o^vn 
factory in a state of defence. 

This was the origin of the English Factory on the 
banks of the Hooghly. It was fortified and had a small 
garrison for its defence ; around the fortified factory was 
gradually gathered a number of houses which were occu- 
pied by peaceable European merchants and traders, and 
the huts of natives who were employed by the Europeans 
or traded with them. 

Another small factory had been established by the 


English at Cossimbazar, a town on the Hooghly, more than 
a hundred miles higher up the country, and close to Moor- 
shedabad, the capital of the Mohamedan sovereign of three 
large and fair provinces in the plains of India. 

A writer in 1756 thus speaks of Calcutta : "The 
bank of the Hooghly was lined on either side of the Fort, 
with large and handsome houses, built and inhabited by 
the chief among the English factors ; and in the rear were 
several equally large and imiposing habitations belonging 
to opulent Baboos, or native merchants ; but the native 
town consisted of thatched huts — some composed of mud, 
and others of bamboos and mats, all imcouth and mean ; 
the streets ^s^ere dirty, narrow and crooked, whilst a pesti- 
lential swamp, close at hand, filled the air with sickly 
exhalations." The tract now covered by the palaces of 
Chowringhee, then contained only a few miserable huts 
thatched with straw ; a jungle, abandoned to water-fowl 
and alligators, covered the site of the present citadel and 
the course, which is now daily crowded at sunset ^vith the 
gayest equipages of Calcutta. 

In April 1686, a new charter was granted to the Com 
pany, confirming all their former privileges, and further 
empowering them to erect courts of judicature, to exercise 
martial law, and coin money at a mint of their own. 

In 1699 the villages of Chuttanuttee (or Calcutta) and 
Govindpore were granted to the Company. Sir Charles 
Eyre was sent out as chief agent in Bengal, with instructions 
to build a fort, which in honour of the reigning monarch, 
was called Fort William. But at this time Bengal held the 
loTvest place in the scale, and was subordinate to the presi- 
dency of Madras. In 1681-82 Bengal was established as a 
distinct agency, with instructions to communicate imm^e- 
diately with the Court of Directors. This arrangement did 
not however last long. The chief agent, who had been 
sent out directly by the Court, mismanaged affairs and 
misconducted himself ; and Bengal was accordingly brought 
back to its old subordination to Madras. About the sam.e 
time Bombay was constituted an independent settlement, 
and in 1685-86 it was erected into the chief seat of British 
power in the East Indies, whilst Surat, with a sub- 


ordinate agent and council, was reduced to a factory. 

In the year 1715 the English settlements in Bengal 
were erected into an independent presidency under the 
name of the presidency of Fort William ; and about ten 
years afterwards a mayor's court was established at Calcutta, 
which had become the chief place of our trade in that part 
of the world. 

The records of the Mayor's court contain some 
curious illustrations of the morals and manners of the 
early settlers, and of the natives, Portuguese and Indians, 
who clustered round them at the presidency. The people 
in whose cases they adjudicated were for the most part 
public or private servants of the settlers themselves, or 
people connected with the shipping in the ports. 

The court carried on all kinds of btisiness. It was at 
once a civil, a criminal, a military and a prerogative court. 
It proceeded with remarkable promptitude and despatch, 
from the proving of a will to the trial of a murderer ; from 
the settlement of a drunken trooper or an extortionate 
witch. Flogging -^vas the usual remedy prescribed. It was 
one of general application, and fell with the greatest 
impartiality on all offenders, old and young, male and 
female alike. 

An attempt was made to levy a duty of 5 per cent, on 
the sale of Europeans' houses. A Captain Durant firmly 
refused to pay the duty unless obliged to do so by decree of 
the Mayor's court. But Captain Durand was not alone in 
the opposition, the levy of the duty "created universal 
clamour," and hence the Court in 1757 thought it advis- 
able to relinquish it. "as we do assure you and in course all 
the inhabitants of Calcutta, that we have a tender regard 
to their ease, and do therefore consent that the said duty 
be laid aside. At the same time," continued the Court of 
Directors in their despatch, "we cannot avoid taking notice 
of the insolent behaviour of Captain Durand as tending to 
such a contempt of our authority as ought never to be 
borne. Your denying him therefore the Company's protec- 
tion was a very proper measure, more especially as we 
know of no licence he has ever had to reside in any place 
in India." Holwell proposed in Council that Captain 


Durand should get twenty-four hours notice to leave for 
England, though he had large concerns in trade ; but the 
Council decided that he should be sent home with the ships 
of the season. At this period the Company refused to allow 
Mr. Plaistead, a civil servant, to return to Bengal after 
going on furlough to England, on account of "a turbulent 
temper and unbecoming behaviour, lessening the Govern- 
ment in the eyes of the whole settlement." 

It may be interesting to note the salaries given to the 
covenanted servants of the Company at that time (1757) : 
Hon'ble Roger Drake, Esq., received £200 per annum ; 
Chaplain, Rev. Mr. Cobbe £50 ; Senior merchants £40 ; 
Junior merchants £30 ; Factors £15 ; Doctors £36 ; 
Writers £5 per annum. These salaries were paid every six 
months. Ail servants, however, had other perquisites, and 
hence the delay in the receipt of their salaries was not so 
inconvenient. Private trade \vas generally indulged in, 
and this brought in far more profitable returns than their 
regular allowances. 

The English factory was first founded therefore before 
the year 1690, and a considerable town had sprung up 
around it. But very few features of old Calcutta can be 
traced in the modern city. The sites of some of the princi- 
pal buildings are known, but only to the antiquarian. 

The oldest of several old epitaphs in Calcutta is. most 
fittingly indeed, that of the founder of otir "City of 
Palaces," — the venerable Job Charnock, who is succinctly 
described by Orme as a man of courage, without military 
experience, but impatient to take revenge on a Govern- 
ment, from which he had personally received the most 
ignominious treatment, having been imprisoned and 
scourged by the Nawab. Captain Hamilton, who was 
travelling in this country at the time that Charnock was 
living, says that he was harsh in the extreme in his treat- 
ment of the natives, which may be ascribed to the suffer- 
ings he had undergone at their hands. 

He could not, however, have been very rigorous with 
all natives ; for the beautiful young Hindoo widow, whom 
he rescued as she was about to become Sati, and appro- 
priated to himself, he appears to have tenderly loved whilst 


living, and according to Captain Hamilton, deeply lament- 
ed when dead, sacrificing a fowl, it is said, at her tomb on 
every anniversary of her death as long as he lived, which 
would appear to show that she must have become a Moslem 
when she was cast out from the pale of Hindooism ; and 
this is likely enough, for the natives prefer to belong to any 
caste rather than to none. The incident alluded to is said 
to have occurred on the banks of the Hooghly about the 
year 1678. 

On another epitaph, said to be found several years ago 
in the same place, on the tomb-stone of "Joseph Town- 
shend, a Pilot of the Ganges," this romantic episode in the 
life of Charnock is most quaintly related. Although that 
tomb-stone bears a date subsequent to the seventeenth cen- 
tury, the 24th June 1738, yet, as it relates to Charnock, 
and is on the whole most curious, we ought not to omit it 
here. The poetic effusion for it is in doggiel verse, pro- 
ceeds in this wise : — 

"I've slipped my cable, messmates, I'm dropping down with the tide ; 
I have my sailing orders while ye at anchor ride. 
And never, on fair June morning, have I put out to sea. 
With clearer conscience, or better hope, or heart more light and free. 

Shoulder to shoulder, Joe my boy, into the crowd like a wedge ! 
Out with the hangers, messmates, but do not strike with the edge ! 
Cries Charnock, 'Scatter the faggots ? Double that Brahmin in two ! 
The tall pale widow is mine, Joe, the little brown girl's for you.' 

Young Joe (you're nearing sixty) why is your hide so dark ! 
Katie has fair soft blue eyes — who blackened yours ? Why hark ? 
The morning gun. Ho steady. The arquebuses to me ; 
I've sounded the Dutch High Admiral's heart as my lead doth sound 

the sea. 

Sounding, sounding the Ganges — floating down with the tide. 
Moor me close by Charnock, next to my nut-brown bride. 
My blessing to Kate at Fairlight — Holwell, my thanks to you. 
Steady ! — ^We steer for Heaven through scud drifts cold and blue." 

Previous to 1684-5 the trade of the Company in Bengal 
had been subject to repeated interruptions from the caprice 


of the Viceroy and the machinations of his undeilings. The 
seat of the Factory was at Hooghly, then the port of Bengal, 
which was governed by a Mahomedan officer, called the 
Fouzdar, who had a large body of troops under his com- 
mand, and possessed supreme authority in the place. The 
Company's establishment was therefore completely at his 
mercy, and their officers had no means of resisting exactions 
or resenting insult. The Court of Directors, thus constantly 
reminded of the disadvantages of their position, naturally 
became anxious to obtain the same freedom from inter- 
ference in Bengal which they enjoyed at Madras and 
Bombay, where their settlements were fortified and the 
circumjacent lands were under their command. They 
accordingly instructed their president to demand of the 
Nawab, and, through him, the Great Mogul, a grant of 
land where they might establish warehouses and erect 

While this demand Tvas under consideration, the 
oppression of the native government brought matters to a 
point. The pykars or contractors, at Cossimbazar, were a 
lakh and-a-half of rupees in debt to the Company's agents, 
and refused to furnish new supplies for the investment 
without a fresh advance of half a lakh of rupees. Charnock 
refused to comply with the demand. The contractors 
appealed to the Nawab, who decided in their favor. 
Charnock however still remained firm ; and a very exag- 
gerated representation was sent to the Emperor of the 
refractory behaviour of the English. All their trade was 
at once stopped, and their ships were sent away half empty. 

When intelligence of these e\'ents reached England, 
the Company communicated it to James the Second, and 
that monarch sanctioned their resolution to go to war with 
the Great Mogul, and to establish themselves by force in 
his dominions. They accordingly sent out a large arma- 
ment, consisting of ten ships, of from 12 to 70 guns, under 
Captain Nicholson. Six companies of Infantry were sent 
at the same time. The orders of the Directors were that 
their officers should take and fortify Chittagong with 200 
pieces of canon, and make it the seat of their commerce, 
and that they should march up against Dacca, then the 


capital of Bengal, and capture it — wild ambitious schemes 
which were never carried out, or indeed commenced. 

A part only of the fleet arrived at Hooghly ; but while 
the president was waiting for the remainder, an affray was 
caused by three soldiers on 28th October 1686, at Hooghly. 
which brought on a general engagement. Nicholson bom- 
barded the town, and burned 500 houses, and spiked all 
the guns in the batteries ; and the Fouzdar begged for an 
armistice, to gain time. During the truce, the Company's 
officers reflected upon their position, in an open town like 
Hooghly, and resolved to abandon it. Instead, however,, 
of obeying the orders they had received from home of pro- 
ceeding to Chittagong, they retired to Chuttanuttee, a little 
below the Dutch factory at Barnagore, where they landed 
on the 20th November 1686, and the English flag was for 
the first time planted in the spot destined to become the 
capital of a great empire. 

The history of the subsequent year is obscure, owing 
to the loss of the vessels which took home the despatches ; 
but we gather that the Mahomedan general soon after 
arrived at Hooghly with an army, and that the Company's 
agents construed this into a breach of the armistice, and 
proceeded forthwith to plunder Tannah, and every place 
which lay between it and the island of Ingelee, which they 
took and fortified. Though our troops began to die by 
scores of jungle fever, on that fatal island, Charnock obsti- 
nately continued to occupy it. Not long after he burned 
Balasore, and captured forty Mogul ships. Notwithstand- 
ing these injuries inflicted on the Mahomedan power, 
Charnock appears to have applied to the Nawab for an 
order to re-establish the out-factories of Cossimbazar and 
Dacca, for the cession of Oolooberya, sixteen miles below 
Calcutta, and in this he was successful. 

Meanwhile, the Court of Directors sent out the most 
peremptory prohibition of any compromise with the native 
government, and repeated their resolution to maintain the 
war with vigor. They accordingly despatched a hot-headed 
man. of the name of Health, in command of the Defiance 
frigate, with a hundred and sixty men, either to assist in 
the war if it still continued, or to bring away their whole 


establishment if a truce had been made with the enemy. 
Heath arrived in 1688, and sailed to Balasore roads ; and 
though a firman had arrived for the re-establishment of 
British commerce on a favorable footing, he landed his 
men, stormed the batteries of Balasore and plundered the 
place. He then embarked the whole body of the Com- 
pany's servants, and sailed across the bay to Chittagong 
opened a negotiation with some Rajah in Arracan, and 
without waiting for his reply, sailed away to Madras, where 
he landed the whole of the Company's establishment. Thus 
this premature attempt of the Company to obtain a foot- 
ing by force in Bengal, and to maintain their position by 
the terror of their arms, ended in the entire loss of their 
commerce and the abandonment of all their establishments 
in the province. 

The year 1737 brought with it a great calamity. 
The Gentleman's Gazette of that year says : — "In the night 
of the 11th October, 1737, there happened a furious hurri- 
cane at the mouth of the Ganges, which reached sixty 
leagues up the river. There was at the same time a violent 
earthquake, which threw down a great many houses along 
the river side ; in Golgota (i. e., Calcutta) alone, a port 
belonging to the English, two hundred houses were thrown 
down, and the high and magnificent steeple of the English 
church sunk into the ground without breaking. It is com- 
puted that 20,000 ships, barques, sloops, boats, canoes, fee, 
have been cast away ; of nine English ships then in the 
Ganges, eight were lost, and most of the crew drowned. 
Barques of sixty tons were blown t^vo leagues up into the 
land over the tops of high trees ; of four Dutch ships in the 
river, three were lost, with their men and cargoes ; 300,000 
souls are said to have perished. The water rose forty feet 
higher than usual in the Ganges." 

We may note here some of the localities of ancient 
Calcutta which do not now exist. 

Opposite Tiretta Bazar stood the house of Mr. C. 
Weston (after whom Weston's Lane was named). When he 
lived there in 1740, the house was in the midst of a large 
green, which could have borne witness to many benevolent 
deeds by its liberal-hearted owner. Mr. Weston here gave 



away Rs. 1.600 monthly to the poor with his own hand, and 
at his death, he left one lakh of rupees as a fund for the 
benefit of the needy. 

In the "Consultations" of Government, dated 20th 
November 1752, the following appears : — "Perrin's Garden 
being much out of repair and of no use to any of the cove- 
nanted servants, agreed to sell it at public outcry on Mon- 
day, 11th December, next." Perrin's Garden, Mr. Long 
tells us, seems to have been what the Eden Gardens are 
now — the promenade of Calcutta. But for Company's 
servants only ! It was sold to Mr. Holwell for Rs. 2,500. 

The old Government House at Police Ghat, after the 
erection of the new abode for the President on the restora- 
tion of Calcutta from the Mahomedans, was turned into a 
Bankshall, or Marine yard, and at the ghat in front of it, a 
dockyard was constructed in 1790 for the repair of pilot 
vessels ; but it was disused and filled up in 1808. 

The "Bread and Cheese Bungalow" is mentioned in 
an auctioneer's advertisement, in 1802, as being "situated 
in Dihi Entally, Mouzah Sealdah, on the right hand side 
of the road leading from Calcutta to Belliaghata, on the 
salt water lake." On this spot stood afterwards a police 
choukey. The whole of the ground now has been taken 
up by the railway station of the Eastern Railway. 

In 1757 a Jail stood on the spot where the Lall Bazar 
and Chitpoor roads cross each other. After the taking of 
Chandernagore, the French prisoners then captured were 
confined in this jail. On the 18th December, 1757, these 
prisoners made their escape by digging under the walls. 
As late as the present [nineteenth] century the ground near 
it was used for public executions. 

: The burying ground which was situated in the mid- 
dle of the town, was ordered in September 1766, to be no 
longer used as a place of sepulture, and a new cemetery was 
chosen in a more convenient situation. This was the site 
on which the cathedral or the present St. John's church 
was built. Probably over 12,000 corpses has been interred 
in this burying ground, since 1698. 

The old Council House, which stood in Council 
House Street, was pulled down in the early part of 1800. 


Hammam Lane or Warm-Bath Lane was somewhere 
close to CKve Street. In this lane was a house, west of the 
Police Office, where were warm-baths, from which the lane 
took its name. 

The space between the Fort and Chandpal Ghat was 
formerly occupied with the Respondentia Walk, and 
adorned with trees, few of which now remain. 

W'heler Place was named after Mr. Wheler, the Presi- 
dent of the Council, in 1784, and formed part of what is 
now known as Government Place, West. From it issued a 
lane called Corkscrew Lane, leading to Fancy Lane. 

King's Bench Walk ran along the Strand, where the 
Bank of Bengal afterwards stood ; it was to the ^vest of the 
old fort. 

Theatre Road, not the present road of that name, was 
at the back of Writers' Buildings, and took its name from 
the Theatre, which stood at the north-west corner of Lyon's 

Halber's Street issued from Circular Road, some dis- 
tance to the south of where Janbazar joins it. 

Ford Street proceeded eastward from Chowringhee, 
over what is now called Sudder Street. 

Price's Street was named probably after Captain Price 
of the Hon'ble Company's Marine ; it led from the Strand 
some distance to the south of the old fort. 

From an advertisement (in a paper of July 1792) of a 
house to let, we learn that the said tenement was situated 
in Bond Street (formerly Old Post Office Street). As the 
latter name and street exist, and the former name has 
passed into oblivion, we must suppose that the street which 
had been christened "Bond," reverted to its old name of 
^'Old Post Office Street". 

Omichund's Garden, now Hulsee Bagan, was the head 
quarters of Seraj-o-dowlah in 1757. Omichund was the 
great millionaire of his day, who by his influence could 
sway the political movements of the Court of Moorsheda- 
bad. During forty years he was the chief contractor for 
providing the Company's investments, and realised more 
than a crore of rupees. He lived in this place with more 
than regal magnificence. Most of the best houses in Cal- 


cutta belonged to him. In 1757 the ground to the east of 
Omichund's garden was the scene of hard fighting, when 
the English troops, under Clive, marched in a fog through 
Seraj-o-dowlah's fortified camp. 

Opposite Baitakhana, in the south corner of Sealdah, 
is the site of the house which formed the Jockey Club and 
refreshment place of the Calcutta sportsmen, when in 
former days they went tiger and boar hunting in the 
neighbourhood of Dum-Dum. 

In 1740 the Mahrattas invaded Bengal. They laid 
waste the country from Balasore to Rajmahal, and finally 
got possession of Hooghly ; the wretched inhabitants took 
refuge in Calcutta, and the President obtained permission 
to surround the Company's lands with a ditch, to extend 
from the northern portion of Chuttanuttee to Govindpore. 
The Mahratta Ditch was dug in 1742, to protect the English 
territories, then seven miles in circumference ; the inhabi- 
tants being terrified at the invasions of the Mahrattas, who 
the year before invaded Bengal to demand the fourth part 
of the re\'enues which they were said to be entitled to by 
treaty with the native rulers. The ditch was commenced 
at Chitpore Bridge, but was not completed as the panic 
from the anticipated invasion had subsided. By the treaty 
of 1757 with Meer Jaffer, the latter agreed to give up 
to the English "The Mahratta Ditch all round Calcutta, 
and six hundred yards all round the ditch ; the lands to 
the southward of Calcutta, as low as Culpee, should be 
under the government of the English Company". The 
country on the other side of the ditch was at that time in- 
fested by bands of dacoits. When the Marquis Wellesley, 
whose influence gave a great stimulus to the improvement 
of the roads, came to Calcutta, the "deep, broad Mahratta 
Ditch" existed near the present Circular Road. It was then 
commenced to be filled up by depositing the filth of the 
town in it. "The earth excavated in forming the ditch," 
says a writer of that day, "was so disposed on the inner or 
townward side, as to form a tolerably high road, along the 
margin of which was planted a row of trees, and this consti- 
tuted the most frequented and fashionable part about 
town." Another writer states with reference to this road 


in 1802 : — "Now on the Circular Road of Calcutta, the 
young, the sprightly and the opulent, during the fragrance 
of morning, in the chariot of health, enjoy the gales of 
recreation." In 1794 there were three houses in its length 
of three miles. As a means of defence, the ditch was worth- 
less, especially with a small garrison ; and for that reason, 
probably, it was not used by the English during the attack 
of Seraj-o-dowlah in 1756. 

Near the Old Court House, or as we should now say, 
near St. Andrews' Church, in the north-west corner of 
Lyon's Range, stood the Theatre, which was generally 
served by amateur performers. A ball-room was attached 
to the building. 

"Asiaticus" gives us some humorous remarks on the 
dancing there : — "The English ladies are immoderately 
fond of dancing, an exercise ill calculated for the burn- 
ing climate of Bengal. Imagine to yourself the lovely 
object of your affections ready to expire with heat, every 
limb trembling and every feature distorted with fatigue, 
and her partner with a muslin handkerchief in each hand 
employed in the delightful office of diping down her face, 
while the big drops stand impearled upon her forehead." 

Soon after Ibrahim Khan was appointed to the Gov- 
ernment of Bengal, he sent two invitations to Charnock to 
return with the Company's establishment. He at length 
accepted the offer and landed at Chuttanuttee with a large 
stock of goods ; and on the 27th April received a firman in 
which the Emperor Aurungzebe declared, "that it had 
been the good fortune of the English to repent of their past 
irregular proceedings," and that he had given them liberty 
to trade in Bengal without interruption. In 1691, we find 
Charnock residing in Chuttanuttee with a hundred soldiers, 
but without either storehouses or fortifications. He died 
the next year in January. His name is inseparably asso- 
ciated with the metropolis of British India, which he was 
accidentally the instrument of establishing ; but there does 
not appear to have been anything great or even remark- 
able in his character. 

On the death of Charnock, Sir John Goldsborough 
came up from Madras to Chuttanuttee, where he found 


everything in disorder, and none of the Company's servants 
in the factory worthy of being entrusted with the charge of 
it. He therefore called Mr. Eyre up from Dacca, and 
appointed him the Chief. In 1694-5 the Court of Directors 
gave orders that Chuttanuttee should be considered the 
residence of their Chief Agent in Bengal ; and directed 
that two or three adjoining villages should be farmed. 

In 1696-7 happened the rebellion of the Burdwan 
Zemindar, Sobha Sing, and all the districts to the east of 
the river from Midnapore to Rajmahal, were for a time 
alienated from the government of the Viceroy. The foreign 
factories were threatened with exactions ; and the French, 
Dutch and English Chiefs solicited permission to throw up 
fortifications for their own defence. The Nawab gave 
them a general order to provide for their safety, and they 
eagerly seized the opportunity of strengthening the works 
which they had previously erected by stealth. Such was the 
origin of Fort Gustavus at Chinsurah, Fort William in 
Calcutta, and the French fort at Chandernagore. 

In 1698-9 the Chief at Chuttanuttee received a Nishan 
or order from the Viceroy of Bengal for "a settlement of 
their right at Chuttanuttee. on the basis of which they 
rented the two adjoining villages of Calcutta and Govind- 
pore." When intelligence of this event reached the Court 
in London, they ordered that Calcutta should be advanced 
to the dignity of a Presidency ; that the President should 
draw a salary of Rs. 200 a month, with an additional gra- 
tuity of Rs. 100 ; that he should be assisted by a council of 
four members ; of Avhom the first should be the Account- 
ant ; the second the Warehouse Keeper ; the third the 
Marine Purser, and the fourth the Receiver of Revenues. 
It was in this year, and under this new organization that 
the fort, which had now been completed, was called Fort 

An extract of a letter from Jugdea, near Dacca, dated 
16th November, is given in the "Consultations" of the 4th 
December, 1752 : — "That as the time of the Mugs draws 
nigh, they request us to order the pinnace to be with them 
by the end of next month for the safe conveyance of their 
cloth, and a chest of good powder, with a lanthorn or two." 


The Mugs were aborigines inhabiting the hills near Chitta- 
gong. Like the Highlanders they levied their black mail 
in their annual raids, infested the Sunderbund channels, 
and sometimes extended their piracies and plunderings as 
far as Budge-Budge, the Portuguese were at times partners 
in their forays, which caused such terror, that about 1760 
a chain was thrown by the Calcutta authorities across the 
river below Garden Reach, to prevent their vessels from 
coming up. 

Commerce seems, notwithstanding the disadvantages 
of position, to have grown up early, and with it the usual 
accompaniment of luxury. In the letters of the Court of 
Directors, we find frequent complaints and reprobations 
under this head, and in 1725, Mr. Deane, the President, is 
severely reproved for having charged "rupees eleven hun- 
dred for a chaise and pair" to the public account, which 
sum he is ordered immediately to refund. "If our ser- 
vants," say the Directors, "will have such superfluities, let 
them pay for them." 

Despite of reprimands, however, habits of expense 
continued, and in 1731, we find "the foppery of having a 
set of music at his table, and a coach and six with guards 
and running footmen," charged against both the President, 
and "some of inferior rank ;" and as if this were not enough, 
it is broadly hinted that "wherever such practice prevails 
in any of our servants, we shall always expect that we are 
the paymasters in some shape or other." 

The Court had, in 1754, signified to the writers their 
orders that they should "lay aside the expense of either 
horse, chair, or palankeen during their writership"; the 
writers, thereupon, petitioned "to be indulged in keeping 
a palankeen for such months of the year as the exces- 
sive heats and violent rains make it impossible to go on 
foot without the utmost hazard of their health, which 
would be subjected to many kinds of sickness were they 
obliged to disuse their palankeens." The Calcutta Gov- 
ernment supported their petition, which was agreed to. 

In a despatch to the Court, dated 7th December, 1754, 
the Government note the arrival of several writers, whom 
they had stationed in the offices mentioned by the Court ; 


— and "Agreed," the despatch continues, "that the servants, 
covenanted, and miUtary officers be advised of the Com- 
pany's orders with relation to their due attendance at 
church, and required to gi\e due obedience thereto. 
Agreed, that the covenanted servants be in future recom- 
mended to a frugal manner of living and attend the several 
offices from 9 to 12 in the morning, and in the afternoon 
when occasion be, that our business may be more punc- 
tually carried on." 


About 1742 a successful revolution had placed the 
viceroyalty of the great provinces of Bengal, Orissa, and 
Behar in the hands of a successful adventurer, of Afghan 
race, named Ali Verdi Khan. Nominally this ruler held 
sovereignty under the Great Mogul of Delhi, but in reality 
he was an independent and absolute monarch ; for the 
Mogul Empire had fallen, never to rise again — its power 
was departed, and the prince who was seated precariously 
on its throne, retained only the semblance of royalty. 

Under Ali Verdi's auspices the British factors and 
their servants, both at Calcutta and Cossimbazar, dwelt in 
prosperity and safety. Ali Verdi, being aged and childless, 
had adopted the son of one of his nephews, named Mirza 
Mahomed, or Seraj-o-dowlah. Ali Verdi's Prime Minister 
and Commander-in-Chief was Meer Jaffer. 

The subordinate government of Dacca had been ad- 
ministered by an uncle of Seraj-o-dowlah, who had died a 
short time before Ali Verdi Khan. His dewan or treasurer, 
not deeming his family or his property safe in Dacca, sent 
them away under the care of his son, named Kissendass, 
who solicited and found a temporary refuge in Calcutta. 
This gave offence to Seraj-o-dowlah, who endeavoured, but 
without effect, to persuade Ali Verdi Khan that the Eng- 
lish were actuated by hostile feelings towards him. The 
death of Ali Verdi, on the 9th April 1756, leaving Seraj-o- 
dowlah to pursue his own course, he addressed a letter to 
the President of Calcutta requiring that Kissendass should 
be delivered up to him ; but this letter, which reached 
Calcutta on the 14th April, was forwarded in a manner so 
extraordinary as to warrant suspicion of its authenticity. 
The bearer, disguised as a pedlar, came in a small boat, and 
on landing proceeded to the house of an Indian, named 
Omichund, by whom he was introduced to the British 
authorities. The British Council appear, on this account 


to have viewed the alleged communication from Seraj-o- 
dowlah with increased distrust, as a contrivance of Omi- 
chund to give himself importance ; and the messenger was 
accordingly dismissed without an answer. 

On the return of the messenger Seraj-o-dowllah at once 
made preparations to attack the English, and on the 22nd 
of May 1756, sent 3,000 of his soldiers to invest the Fort of 
Cossimbazar. On the 1st of June Seraj-o-dowlah himself 
made his appearance before the fort with 30,000 men. 

The English were ill prepared to meet his attack. 
They had originally come to Bengal only as merchants, and 
their fort was designed for the protection of their com- 
merce, not for resisting the power of the princes of the 
country, to whose haughty sufferance they were indebted 
for their highly prized right to dwell and traffic in the land. 

But, for whatever purpose designed, their fort was now 
in disrepair. Arrangements to restore and strengthen it 
had been for years under consideration, but had been frus- 
trated by the sickness or death of the engineers charged 
with the important duty. 

On the 4th Jiuie the fort was given up and plundered. 
The soldiers, who formed the garrison, were sent as pri- 
soners to Moorshedabad. The Resident and another of 
the principal factors were detained as prisoners in Seraj-o- 
dowlah's camp. Among those who were conveyed to 
Moorshedabad, was Warren Hastings, the future Governor 
General of India. 

An order was issued in August, 1751, "to cut down all 
the old trees and underwood in and about the town of 
Calcutta, and reserve them till Mr. Robbins' arrival, as we 
judged this would be a great saving to your Honors [the 
Court of Directors] in the article of firewood for burning 
bricks." Mr. Robbins was sent out to complete the forti- 
fications, which the Court were very anxious about, as 
they apprehended an attack ; for in Calcutta they had 
scarcely a gun mounted, or a carriage to mount it on. They 
were only 200 firelocks fit for service. 

In 1753 the Court sent out fifty-five pieces of cannon, 
eighteen and twenty-four pounders, which were never 
mounted, and which were lying near the walls of the fort. 


when the siege began. The bastions of the fort were small, 
the curtains only three feet thick, and served as the out- 
ward wall of a range of chambers, which with their terra- 
ces, were on all sides overlooked by buildings outside with- 
in a hundred yards ; and there was neither ditch nor even 
a palisade to interrupt the approach of an enemy. None 
of the cannon mounted were above 9 pounders, most were 
honeycombed, their carriages decayed and the ammunition 
did not exceed 600 charges. 

The very year before the loss of Calcutta. Captain 
Leigh Jones, the captain of the Train — in other words, the 
commandant of the Artillery — pointed out the ruinous 
state of the fortifications, and urged their being repaired, 
but no steps were taken till the enemy was at the door. 
The garrison was totally unprepared for a siege when the 
first guns of the Nawab's army, fired at Pering's Point at 
Chitpore, announced the approach of his overwhelming 
host ; and though the provisions in the Fort were bareiv 
sufficient for its small garrison and that only for a short 
period, more than six thousand of the inhabitants of Cal- 
cutta, including several hundred Portuguese women, were 
admitted into it. Of the five military officers in the gar- 
rison. Captain Buchanan was the only one that had any war 
experience. He exhibited the most undaunted spirit 
throughout the siege, and at last perished in the Black Hole. 

Such was the condition of the settlement when this 
unexpected danger threatened it. A considerable number 
of civilians, of all ranks, hastily volunteered to bear arms. 
The senior members of Government took the post of field- 
officers, and even the Rev. Mr. Mapletoft, the Chaplain, 
rendered himself useful as a Captain-Lieutenant. The 
junior members of the service served in the ranks, and the 
obstinate defence of the place during the 19th and 20th 
June, which so greatly exasperated the Nawab, is to be 
ascribed to their extraordinary valour. 

On the 9th June, 1756, Seraj-o-dowlah commenced his 
march towards Calcutta, with a force, it is said, number- 
ing from 50,000 to 70,000 men. The garrison at Fort \Vi\- 
liam numbered only 264 men, and the inhabitants, form- 
ing a militia, were only 250 — in all 514 men, while of 


these only 174 were Europeans, and of such not ten had 
seen any active service. Assistance was sought from Madras 
and Bombay, and the French and Dutch from Chander- 
nagore and Chinsurah were also solicited to join them in 
the defence of a common cause. The Dutch positively re- 
fused, and the French advised the English to repair to 
Chandernagore, in which case they promised them protec- 

On the 13th June a letter from Seraj-o-dowlah's head 
spy to Omichund was intercepted. In this letter the rich 
Hindoo merchant was advised to send his effects out of 
reach of danger as soon as possible, which confirming the 
suspicions that were already entertained of Omichund's 
conduct, he was immediately apprehended and put under 
strict confinement in the Fort. At the same time Kissen- 
dass, who had been Omichund's guest, was brought into 
the Fort. 

On the 16th June, early in the morning, tidings 
arrived of the near approach of Seraj-o-dowlah's army ; 
upon which the greater part of the native inhabitants tied 
in terror, and others with their wives and children, and all 
the English women, then in Calcutta, took refuge in the 
Fort. At noon the army appeared in sight, and commenc- 
ed the attack upon the devoted town. 

The Nawab invested the place on the morning of the 
18th June, and before night all the outposts were in his 
hands, and his troops were enabled to approach within 
musket shot of the Fort. The assault on Calcutta lasted 
three days. The defence was conducted with great bravery, 
but the overwhelming numbers of the enemy rendered 
success hopeless. Happily there was at the time an Eng- 
lish ship and seven smaller vessels in the river. 

A council of war was held, when it was decided to send 
the ladies away in the Dadaly, together with the Company's 
money and books. As that vessel was likely to be over- 
crowded, Mr. Holwell offered his own snow, the Diligence, 
on which four of the ladies embarked. 

The council of war continued to sit till 4 in the morn- 
ing. At 2, the President Mr. Drake. Mr. Mackett, a mem- 
ber of council, Commandant Minchin and Captain Grant 


fled to the ships, leaving their companions to the mercy 
of an infuriated enemy. The flight of the President and 
the military officers became the signal for a general deser- 
tion. Cro^vds hastened down to the river, and each one 
leaped into the first boat he could find ; and in a few 
moments every boat of every description was gone. 

Messrs. Manningham and Frankland, two of the mem- 
bers of council, were the first to set the example of flight. 
On pretence of accompanying the ladies, they went on 
board the Dodaly, of which they were part owners, and 
from which they never returned. Their master's papers 
and cash were left behind — for want of coolies ; though 
coolies were easily found to convey other packages on board, 
which were reasonably supposed to belong to the owners. 

It was afterwards determined, in a general council, 
that the garrison should abandon the Fort and make their 
escape to the ships the next evening. But in the mean- 
while many of the native boatmen deserted, and when it 
was proposed to ship off the native women and children, 
all order was lost among the affrighted multitude, and the 
remaining boats were over-crowded, several upset, and 
numbers of the hapless fugitives were drowned, while such 
as managed to reach the shore, were either murdered, or 
made prisoners by the soldiers of Seraj-o-dowlah, who had 
taken possession of all the houses and enclosures on the 
bank of the river. The ships too had slipped and moved 
to Govindpore, three miles lower do^vn the river. 

The gentlemen in -the Fort, thus abandoned by their 
superiors, and their retreat cut off. held a council, and 
selected Mr. Holwell as their Chief. The garrison made 
the most vigorous defence of the fort during the 19th, and 
till 10 o'clock on the forenoon of the 20th, when it was 
found that of 170 men who had been left, 25 were killed and 
70 wounded ; that all were exhausted with fatigue, and that 
the Fort itself was no longer tenable. Mr. Holwell, there- 
fore, determined to capitulate. In sheer helplessness, they 
surrendered themselves, and the evening were all merci- 
lessly thrust into a single ill-ventilated room, eighteen feet 
square, for confinement through the sultry night. When 
the morning came, the door was opened, but, out of one 


hundred and forty-six prisoners, twenty-four only were 
living. The rest had expired in the agonies of suffocation. 

All the ladies in the settlement had been embarked, 
save one, a very "fine country-born lady," as Hoi well calls 
her, the wife of Mr, Carey, an officer of one of the ships, 
who refused to quit her husband, and when the tow^n was 
captured, resolved to accompany him into the prison of 
the Black Hole, from which she was dra^vn forth in the 
morning, and emaciated widow. She was taken by force to 
the Nawab's camp, and it is said, she remained seven years 
in the seraglio ; but this assertion needs proof. She lived 
to be the last survivor of the Black Hole prisoners. She 
died in the year 1801. 

The Block Hole, of fearful memory, was a room above 
ground, ordinarily used as the garrison lock-up ; it was 
entirely closed up on two sides, on the third was a door 
leading into the barrack, and on the fourth two small 
barred windows opening into a verandah ; its superficial 
area appears to have been about 250 square feet, and it 
barely afforded standing room for the 146 persons packed 
into it by order of Seraj-o-dowlah. 

Those who escaped from the besieged factory, lay "on 
board a few defenceless ships at Fultah, the most unwhole- 
some spot in the country, about twenty miles below Cal- 
ciuta, andr' destitute of the common necessaries of life ;" 
but by the assistance of the French and Dutch, and pri- 
vately by the help of the natives, who sold them all kinds 
of provisions, they supported the horror, of their situation 
till August. Then two hundred and forty men came from 
Madras. But evil was still before them. Disease, arising 
from "bad air, bad weather, and confinement to the ships," 
with the want of proper supplies, now broke out, and 
sAvept off "almost all the military and many of the inhabi- 

When the English quitted the fort, they remained for 
several months on board of the ships at Fultah. Some of 
the provisions were si^pplied by Nabokissen, at the risk of 
his life, as the Nawab had prohibited, under penalty of 
death, any one supplying the English with provisions. 
Warren Hastings, taking into consideration this noble con- 


duct of Nabokissen in the time of pressing need, made him 
his moonshee, and elevated him and his family in rank and 

In the Government Proceedings of the 14th February, 
1757, we find the following accounts of expenses of the 
European refugees from Calcutta on board the vessels 
anchored off Fultah : — "(1) Bill for allowances for the in- 
habitants on board from 1st October to 31st December, at 
Rs. 50 per mensem each, amounting to Rs. 1,708-5-3. (2) 
Bill for diet expenses of ditto, for part of September, Rs. 141. 
(3) Bill for diet of ditto on board the Dragon sloop, from 
26th July to 26th September, Rs. 364. (4) Note for wine. 
Sec, for the use of the sick, Rs. 336." 

For half a year after this horible catastrophe, there was 
little left besides the blackened ruins of the Fort and fac- 
tory buildings, to show how a company of adventurous 
Englishmen had made an abortive attempt to settle on the 
fertile plains of Bengal, and to establish commercial rela- 
tions between their own distant island and the natives of 
Northern India. A large native town remained, which 
had rapidly grown up around the factory ; but it was 
Seraj-o-dowlah's resolve to wipe out all traces of British 
occupancy from the country over which he ruled. 

In a letter from Clive to the Court, dated 26th July 
1757, we learn that "Mons. Law and his party came down 
as far as Rajmahal to Seraj-o-dowlah's assistance, and were 
within three hours' march of him, when he was taken ; as 
soon as they heard of his misfortune, they returned by 
forced marches and passed Patna." Mons. Law was Chief 
at Chandernagore, who, with Bussy, had promissed Seraj-o- 
dowlah their aid against the "perfidious" English, 

How little were the strange issues of these dismal 
events foreseen. Intrepid Britons soon came Avith Admiral 
Watson and Colonel Clive from Madras, to the succour of 
those of their countrymen, who had escaped destruction. 
Victory attended the little army whithersoever it advanced, 
and before the anniversary of the unhappy siege came 
round, Calcutta had been triumphantly re-taken, the battle 
of Plassey had been won, and the throne of the Nawab was 
occupied by a partisan of the English. By those who had 


been his own creatures, the fugitive tyrant was put to death, 
while the British obtained that firm footing and that arm 
of power in Bengal, which speedily led to their acknow- 
ledged supremacy there. In short, the foundations had 
been laid of that great Indian empire, whose growth has 
been as marvellous as its beginning. 

Near the site of the Black Hole, an obelisk, 50 feet 
high, was erected by Mr. Holwell, and the other survivors, 
but the monument was pulled down by order of the Mar- 
quis of Hastings in 1819, some assert, on the gi'ound that 
it was inexpedient to perpetuate the memory of the disas- 
ter ; but the most likely reason was to make room for the 
Custom House. The exact site of the dungeon cannot 
apparently now be determined ; but according to Holwell's 
narrative, it must have been to the south of the east gate- 
way and near the south-east bastion. Remembering the 
now ascertained position of the northern limits, and of the 
known length of the eastern wall of the old fort, this would 
place it between the Custom House and the new Post 
Office, and close to the road at the north-east corner of 
Dalhousie Square. 

In the course of making the excavations requisite for 
the foundations of the East Indian Railway offices, a very 
interesting discovery w^as made, which removes any doubt 
there may have been as to the position of the northern 
limits of the old fort of Calcutta. The original Fort Wil- 
liam, built in 1692, and named after the then reigning 
monarch, was situated on the bank of the Hooghly, and 
extended from the middle of Clive Street to opposite the 
northern end of the Lall Diggee. This can only be correct 
on the supposition that Clive Street, in those days, com- 
prised the road from Hare Street to the site of the present 
Bonded Warehouse ; for it is now clear that the northern 
wall of the fort ran along what is at present the southern 
side of Fairlie Place, and that the fortifications lay wholly 
to the southward of what is now the south end of Clive 

The portion of the old entrenchment which was laid 
bare, was evidently the north-west bastion, and corresponds 
in shape and bearing with this corner of the walls as shown 


in an old map and picture of Calcutta in 1756, given in 
Orme's Hindoostan. According to this and other avail- 
able authorities, the Fort was 210 yards long, 100 yards 
broad at its northern, and 110 at its southern end, having 
a gateway in its eastern and western walls, and a bastion 
at each corner ; the east gateway exactly faced the road 
running in front of Writers' Buildings, which, with its 
continuation. Bow Bazar Street, appears to have been called 
"the avenue leading to the eastward." When, in 1819, the 
old fort was dismantled to make room for the Custom 
House, its walls were found so hard as to defy pickaxe and 
crowbar, and render gunpowder necessary for their demo- 
lition. This statement is fully confirmed by the tough- 
ness of the old masonry lately opened up, and Holwell des- 
cribes the mortar which was used in it as "a composition 
of brick-dust, lime, molasses, and hemp, a cement as hard 
as stone." 

On the 23rd December, 1819, some workmen employ- 
ed in pulling down an old building contiguous to the 
Bankshall, and "immediately opposite Mr. Hare the watch- 
maker's shop," discovered a large collection of bayonets. 
They were first seen on breaking down the masonry which 
filled a doorway on the north side. There was no other 
entrance to the place in which they were found. It was 
blocked up by walls on three sides. The fourth wall, to 
the west, however was not carried up to the roof, and left 
a space of about three feet. Through this opening, it was 
supposed that the bayonets must have been thrown, appar- 
ently in a hurry, as they were heaped up in a very con- 
fused manner. They were of all shapes and sizes, and 
though covered with rust, many of them had the Com- 
pany's mark still visible. The number thus discovered 
was upwards of 12,000 ! Underneath the bayonets were 
several cooking utensils, articles of household furniture 
and oyster shells, and also auction advertisements and 
tavern bills, dated 1795. The mysterious circumstance 
gave rise to various conjectures, but nothing definite was 
come to. 

West of St. John's Church, in the premises afterwards 
occupied by the Stamp and Stationery Committee, was for- 


meily the old Mint, where the Company coined its rupees 
from 1791 to 1832. The treaty permitted the Company to 
establish a mint, from which the first coin was issued on 
the 19th August, 1757. The coins were, however, struck 
in the name of the Emperor of Delhi. It was not till the 
reign of William IV, that the Company commenced to 
strike rupees with the King's head and an English inscrip- 
tion. On the site of and previous to the building of the 
old Mint, stood in 1790 the flourishing ship-building estab- 
lishment of Gillets. Before the erection of the Mint the 
coinage was executed by contract at Pultah by Mr. Prinsep, 
who commenced the coinage in 1762. 




Rebuilding of the City — Resumption of Trade 

About twenty miles from Calcutta, in a straight line, 
as the crow flies, but fifty miles by water, lies Fultah. 
Ordinarily a place of little note, except that it was the 
general station for Dutch shipping, it was in 1756 raised 
to temporary importance as the rendezvous of the small 
English fleet that had escaped from Calcutta, and the city 
of refuge for subsequent English fugitives. Here, in 
guarded dwellings, were the English women who had been 
rescued from the fort, and also the greater number of the 
small remnant of sufferers from the Black Hole tragedy. 
Here also were the agents of the Company from the subor- 
dinate factories of Dacca, Jugdeea, and Balasore, who on 
the first alarm of danger had escaped from the factories to 
the protection of the fleet. 

It was Colonel Clive to whom was entrusted the reco- 
very of the lost possessions of the English in Bengal ; and 
early in October, 1756, a naval and military armament — 
the former commanded by Admiral Watson, and the latter 
consisting of nine hundred English and fifteen hundred 
native soldiers, sailed from Madras for Calcutta. The 
squadron consisted of five ships of war. It did not how- 
ever reach Fultah before the middle of December. 

It was not long before measures ^sere arranged for the 
retaking of Calcutta, and the fleet pushed forward. Budge- 
Budge was captured, and when the ships arrived off Cal- 
cutta, a panic had stricken the General of Seraj-o-dowlah ; 
so that he fled with the greater portion of his troops to 
Hooghly. Thither he was pursued. Hooghly was taken ; 
Chandernagore also ; and the victorious Cli\e then merch- 
ed over to Plassey, where with 3,000 men, of whom only 
650 were British soldiers, he met and conquered the hosts 
of Seraj-o-dowlah. Thus ended the battle of Plassey, which 


delivered the English in Bengal from an unreasonable and 
tyrannical oppressor, and transferred to their hands the 
reigns of government over a widely extended and yet 
spreading empire. 

The arrival of a French fleet with large reinforcements 
of military on the coast in July, 1758, caused much conster- 
nation among the English residents in Calcutta, and various 
plans were proposed for defending the settlement against 
any attempt to take the place. Captain Brohier, who had 
charge of the building of Fort William, wished to sink 
ships and place a boom across the stream at Calpee, to pre- 
vent the French coming up the river. A select committee, 
that had been appointed to consider the subject, recom- 
mended "that five boats should be prepared, to be filled 
with combustibles in order to burn theii ships in case 
they advanced up the river ; that the pagoda at Ingelee 
should be washed black, the great tree at that place cut 
down, and buoys removed or their positions altered. The 
master attendant and Captain Brohier were accordingly 
ordered to purchase boats and materials for the above 
mentioned purpose, and to prepare everything for the 
execution of the scheme in case of an enemy's fleet advanc- 
ing up the river." 

Fort William was begun by Lord Clive after the battle 
of Plassey in 1758, about a mile to the southward of the 
old fort, on the site of a thick forest and two villages, the 
inhabitants of which had been induced to settle in Cal- 
cutta by the Seths, a wealthy mercantile family. Where the 
splendid houses of Chowringhee now stand, a miserable 
village, surrounded by marshy pools, existed in 1717 ; and 
even in 1756, when Seraj-o-dowlah took the place, only 
seventy houses were inhabited by Englishmen. The citadel 
of Fort William cost two millions sterling ; but it is on so 
great a scale, that a garrison of 15,000 men is required for 
its defence. It is built in the form of an octagon, and is 
fortified according to Vauban's system ; three of the fronts,, 
however, which are turned towards the Hooghly to com- 
mand the river, deviate from the regular form. The five 
regular sides are inland ; the bastions have all very salient 
orillons behind which retire circular flanks ; the moat is 


dry. and has a lunette in the middle, but it can be laid 
under water by means of two sluices. In front of every 
courtine is a ravelin, the faces of which mount twenty-six 
pieces of heavy artillery. The demi-bastions on each side 
are covered by a counter-guard, the faces of which are like- 
wise defended by twenty-six guns. In the interior of the 
citadel are bomb-proof barracks, the arsenal, and the maga- 
zines. The garrison consists of two European regiments, 
one of sepoys, and a few companies of artillery ; because 
the principal station is at Barrackpore, thirteen miles dis- 
tant, where there are 7,000 men. The arsenal contains 
arms of 80,000 men. Close to it some works have been 
erected, by means of which the whole may be laid under 
water in a very short time. An artesian well was be- 
gun some years ago, but afterwards abandoned. In boring 
this well, the bones of dogs were discovered at the depth 
of 150 feet ! 

In consequence of advices that Mons. Lally had des 
troyed the houses of Fort St. David, had set fire to and 
damaged the houses at the Mount, and was intending the 
destruction of Black Town had he not been prevented by 
the arrival of troops from Calcutta, the authorities at the 
head of the Government of Bengal immediately ordered 
the demolition of the "wharfs, magazines and houses, both 
public and private, at C bander nagore," — and they were at 
once destroyed, with the exception of the houses of a few 
indignent widows, which were permitted to remain un- 
touched. This was done in December, 1758. 

From this period, Calcutta rapidly increased in extent 
and population. In 1798 the number of houses was 78,760, 
and population between 6 and 700,000. 

European residences were at first collected around the 
old Fort ; but, as confidence grew stronger, "garden houses" 
sprung up in the suburbs, and the area of the town was 
enlarged. The thatched huts of the natives composed most 
of the streets, and accidental and incendiary fires annually 
produced wide spread devastation amongst them. In 
March, 1780, no fewer than fifteen thousand "straw houses" 
^^ ere thus destroyed ; and a hundred and nineteen persons 
perished in the conflagration. Famines were also frequent 


and frightfully destructive. One which extended over 
1770 and 1771 was the most terrible in its consequences, 
but others of shorter duration occasioned unspeakable 
suffering. In 1788 it was necessary to give daily allowance 
to upwards of twenty thousand starving people in Calcutta, 
whilst "the crowds of those who surrounded the city and 
lined the roads to it," exhibited a scene of miser)^ and 
wretchedness which words could not paint or tongue 
express. "So numerous," says the Calcutta Chronicle, of 
October 9th, 1788. "are the wretches, who daily expire on 
the roads leading to Calcutta, that there is scarcely a suffi- 
cient number of men of the Hari caste to carry the bodies 
away before they turn putrid and infectious." The 
Chronicle proceeds, — "Some more decent, and less shock- 
ing manner should be practised in carrying the dead bodies 
to the river instead of that now in use. Sometimes they 
are looselv flung across a bamboo, and frequently tumble 
off on the way. At other times, the feet and hands are 
tied together, and in this shocking and indecent manner 
the bodies are carried naked through the streets." 

The European residents were always generous in aid- 
ing such sufferers, but it was often declared that the opulent 
natives seemed to be utterly regardless of the woes of their 
miserable countrymen, and gave only when superstition 
extorted what philanthropy would not yield. The most 
revolting practices of Hinduism were unblushingly exposed 
to public view. The editor of one of the new^spapers com- 
plains, in October, 1792, that he had just seen about fifty 
Sanyasis parading the streets of the city, all utterly naked. 
Widows were burned alive with the bodies of their hus- 
bands, close to the city ; and there was reason to believe 
that, now and then, the bloody goddess Kali was propitiated 
by a human sacrifice at the celebrated shrine in the south- 
eastern suburb, from which, most probably, the city takes 
its name. The police regulations in those early days were 
very inefficient. Dacoits. those red-handed robbers, who 
ruthlessly combined most cruel atrocities with destructive 
pillage, abounded in many districts of Bengal, both on 
land and upon the rivers ; and the consternation their 
daring exploits produced, ^vas felt in Calcutta itself. 


On a platform erected to the south-west of Cooley 
Bazar, (which was once an extensive Musalman burial 
ground) Nundcomar, once Dewan to the Nawab of Moor- 
shedabad, was executed on the 5th August, 1775 — the first 
Brahmin hanged by the English in India. The excitement 
caused by his death was so great among the Hindoos, that 
it was supposed that the lives of the judges would be 
attempted by the infuriated mob. 

If Clive or Admiral Watson were to revisit the banks 
of that river, which more than a century ago they passed 
up with the few ships and small handful of fighting men. 
which paved the way for the conquest of Hindoostan, they 
Avould out-do Dominie Sampson in their hearty exclama- 
tions of "Prodigious ! " Where erst were to be seen a few 
Bengalee fishermen or boat-men, mending their nets or 
cleaning their cooking pots, is now a broad and level road, 
covered, at eventide, by hundreds of carriages and horse- 
men. No sooner does the setting sun tinge the western 
horizon, than all the English residents in Calcutta throw 
open their doors and windows, make a hasty toilet and sally 
forth, in carriage or on horseback, to enjoy the evening air. 
The Course is crowded with \ehicles of every description ; 
one mar\'els who all those people are that own these hun- 
dreds of carriages. 

-The first impression made on the mind of the stranger 
is, that there must be an enormous number of wealthy in- 
habitants in Calcutta. But the equipage is, in reality, no 
sort of index to the wordly possessions of the owner. It 
may let you, perhaps, into the secret of a man's vanity — 
certainly not of his income. Some of the most pretending 
equipages on the Course are sported by people belonging 
to the second class of society — respectable personages 
enough no doubt, and peradventure, not much given to 
show ; but the wife and the daughters must have their 
britska or barouche, though they do pinch a little at home 
to maintain it, and on the Course at least, the wife of the 
uncovenated subordinate may jostle the lady of the head of 
the office. When we consider how much is often sacrified 
to support the dignity of a carriage and pair — how much 
substantial comfort is throv.n aside to make room for this 


little bit of ostentation — that the equipage is with many, 
the thing from which they derive much of their importance 
— we soon cease to wonder at the formidable array of con- 
veyances which throng the Course every evening, and pre- 
sent a scene, which, as one of daily occurrence, has not 
perhaps, its parallel in the world. 

So powerless were the Indian authorities to punish 
natives, than on the occasion of eleven lascars, the crew of 
one of the Company's vessels, having risen on the captain 
and killed him on account of his bad usage of them, in 
October, 1754, the Government "dreaded a war with the 
Nawab should they hang Musalmans," and therefore refer- 
red the matter to the Court of Directors, detaining the 
culprits in prison, "to be produceable at any time, if sick- 
ness do not take them out of the world." 

Some German ships being expected in September, 
1754, orders were issued to all the pilots in the river, prohi- 
biting them taking charge of them, or of any vessels not 
"belonging to powers already established in India ; they 
also advised the Court that "nothing shall be wanting on 
our part to put any obstacle we can devise in their way." 

A sum of Rs. 338-6-9 was paid to Messrs. Wells and 
Drake "on account of expenses of the fortifications at 
Bagbazar for the month of December, 1754." This re- 
doubt, says Mr. Long, defended by sixty Europeans and 
natives, repulsed with loss the Nawab's army on the 16th 
June. 1756. 

The Company, in 1755, began to resist the unwar- 
rantable assumption of authority which the Rajah of 
Burdwan often exercised over Company's servants. This 
was manifested in an affair which occurred in the begin- 
ning of 1755. An European, named Wood, had obtained 
a warrant of sequestration against the Rajah's gomashtas, by 
virtue of which he had sealed up the Rajah's house and 
effects in Calcutta. Upon which the Rajah stopped the 
Company's business in all the districts of the Burdwan Raj. 
The Company therefore sent a remonstrance to the Nawab, 
and requested that a proper reprimand should be adminis- 
tered to the Rajah of Burdwan. This the Nawab duly 
administered, and the stoppage of the trade was removed. 


One of the earliest works that treat of Calcutta, is "The 
(Genuine Memoirs of Asiaticus," written by Phillip Stanhope, 
an officer of the 1st Regiment of Dragoon Guards, w^hich 
"was published in London in 1785. Stanhope came to 
India in 1774, he touched at Madras and then proceeded to 
Calcutta. It was the time when the hooka was in vogue. 
He says — "Even the waiters, whose salary and perquisites 
scarce amount to £200 a year, contri\e to be attended, 
Avherever they go, by their hooka-burdar, or servant w'hose 
•duty it is to replenish the hooka with the necessary ingre- 
dients, and to keep up the fire with his breath. But, 
extravagant as the English are in their hooka, their equi- 
page and their tables, yet all this is absolute parsimony, 
"when compared to the expenses of a seraglio — a luxury 
Avhich only those can enjoy whose rank in the service 
entitles them to a princely income, and whose harem, like 
the state horses of a monarch, is considered as a necessary 
appendage to eastern grandeur." 

The village of Chitpore, a little beyond the junction 
of the Circular Canal with the river at the north-eastern 
extremity of Calcutta, appears to have been in existence 
more than three hundred years ago. It was then wTitten 
Chittrupoor, and was noted for the temple of Chittresuree 
Dabee, or the goddess of Chittru, known among Europeans 
as the temple of Kali. This was the spot where the largest 
number of human sacrifices were offered to the goddess in 
Bengal before the establishment of the British Government. 
The most conspicuous object at Chitpore is the house and 
garden of the Nawab, Tuhower Jung. This was the 
•original residence of the Chitpore Naw^ab, as he was called, 
Mahmed Raja Khan, to whom the whole administration of 
Bengal civil, criminal and revenual, was entrusted for 
several years after the Company had obtained the Dewanee. 
It was to this house that the Nawab was brought a prisoner 
in 1772, by the peremptory orders of the Court of Direc- 
tors, when they suspected that he made the interests of the 
country and the Company subservient to his own. After 
he arrived, and was lodged in his ow^n house under a guard, 
the members of council actually debated on the mode in 
ivhich the object of their master's displeasure should be 


received, and the majority decided on deputing one of their 
number to do him honor ! 

There being no proper places for the public offices, it 
was proposed in the "Consultations," of the 22nd June. 
1758, and agreed, "to purchase the dwelling, house of the 
late Mr. Richard Court, and appropriate it to such pur- 
pose ; in which a room should be set apart as a Council 
Chamber." This house was situated in the street called 
after it Coimcil House Street. 

The Diamond Harbour Road was lined with trees. 
from Kidderpore to Bursea. This road ^vas thirty-nine 
miles in length, while the river route was fifty-six. It must 
have been of great convenience for traffic, \vhen cargo-boats 
occupied from five to seven days in taking goods from Cal- 
cutta to Diamond Harbour ; and when ships were accus- 
tomed to take three weeks beating up to Calcutta from 
Diamond Harbour. 

It may be interesting to know what was the rate of 
taxation in 1810, and for some years previous to that, when 
no municipal bodies existed. (1) Dwelling houses of every 
description (not shops), five per cent, on the annual rent,, 
or estimated rent when occupied by the proprietors ; (2) 
shops or houses occupied as shops, ten per cent, on annual 
rent ; (3) no tax on empty houses ; (4) all religious edifices 
exempt from tax. 

An extraordinary project, was in 1789 in agitation bv 
the French, of proceeding to India through Egypt ; and a 
very formidable expedition was said to be preparing in the 
Mediterranean, to answer at once the pin^poses of science 
and conquest and of which the object was to strike a for- 
midable blow against the English in India. The following 
is one among the most remarkable passages in an article 
on this subject contained in the Redacteur, signed Barbault 
Royer : — "It is only in the absolute ruin of its power (of 
England in India) that we can crush this superb rival ; so 
long as Britain shall dispense the treasures of Bengal, what 
foreign power can be insensible to the seducing influence of 
its wealth ? What means is there to prevent the rupees 
of Orissa purchasing the perfidy of kings, of stimulating 
their leagues, and subsidising their hungry battalions ? It 


is by uniting our efforts in concert, and striking at the very 
source of their riches. Europe and Asia must resound with 
the same blows. India must be subjugated by crossing the 
waves of the Red Sea, and our conquest in the East must 
extinguish the hope of our enemy of repairing in that 
quarter the wreck of its throne in Europe." 

Fort Marlborough was a place of some importance at 
this time, (1795). It was fortified by two hundred sepoys 
and a complete company of Artillery, W^ar with France 
had been declared, and it was feared that that nation would 
pounce doAvn with her navy on the Indian colonies of Eng- 
land : perhaps that was the principal reason for the above 

Affairs in Europe being very critical, England being 
threatened with invasion by France, for which the large 
flotilla and naval force was in rapid progi'ess, several of 
the wealthy inhabitants at home were stirred up in their 
loyal feelings towards their sovereign and their country, to 
contribute nobly to the supply of pecuniary means for the 
defence of their country. Up to the 1st March, 1798. a 
million and-a-half had been received at the Bank of Eng- 
land, and contributions were pouring in from all parts of 
the country. 

When the news of this liberality on the part of the 
citizens of London and of the country reached India, the 
loyal inhabitants of Calcutta at once convened a public 
meeting for the purpose of "expressing in an humble and 
dutiful address to His Majesty, our loyalty and attachment 
to his Royal Person and Government at this important 
crisis, and also of considering the best mode of promoting 
voluntary contributions in these provinces and their depen- 
dencies, in order that the amount thereof may be applied 
to the public service, in such manner as Parliament may 

The meeting w^as called by the Sheriff and held at the 
Theatre on the 17th July, where there was a numerous and 
respectable gathering of the British inhabitants. Addresses 
were drawn up, and a book for voluntary contributions 
opened. The sum at once subscribed at the meeting was 
£30.616, and several large annual subscriptions to be paid 


SO long as the war should last, amounting to a total of 
£5,655 sterling. Other sums were subsequently added, 
making a total of £158,053, showing the loyalty of the 
colonists and their good feeling to their country. 

Similar meetings were held at Madras on the 12th 
July and at Bombay on the 28th June, when the voluntary 
contributions at Madras amounted to 185,916 star- pagodas, 
and at Bombay to Rs. 2,44,707. And so general was the 
feeling of loyalty among all classes, that the officers, and 
non-commissioned officers and privates of the army subs- 
cribed one month's pay towards the fund. The proprie- 
tors of Bank Stock also held a meeting, and the Deputy 
Governor was empowered to make a contribution of 
£200,000 for the service of the country. 

Stimulated by the loyal meetings held by the European 
inhabitants of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, several of 
the principal native inhabitants of Calcutta, who were 
desirous of testifying their loyalty to the King of England, 
and their attachment to the British Government under 
whose protection they lived, held a meeting on the 21st of 
August, 1798, and determined to raise a subscription among 
their body, for the same purpose as that raised among the 
European residents, viz., to assist the Government in carry- 
ing on the war then raging in defence of England, and her 
Eastern possessions. The signatures to the requisition for 
the meeting were : — Gourchurn Mullick, Nemoychurn 
Mullick, Ramkissen Mullick, Gopeemohun Tagore, Colly- 
churn Holdar, Russick Lall Dutt, and Gocool Chund Dutt 
— all wealthy and loyal subjects, and who showed their 
liberality by subscribing a sum of Rs. 20,800 at once. 

The following stanzas of a local poet seem to refer to 
the threatened invasion by France of the British possessions 
in India. It bears date 16th August, 1798 : — 

"Forth like a cannon let it roar ; 

Quick, let it sound from shore to shore : 

Let the impulsive shock rebound ; 

Let cities, rocks, and castles echo round, 

Britannia rules the main 

A louder yet, and yet a louder strain. 

Proclaim, proclaim, proclaim. 


Britain, ever bold and free. 
Long shall live to rule the sea. 

Girt in its azure zone : 
Hispania, Gallia, and Batavia know, 
(Taught by many an overthrow,) 

She rules the main alone. 

Spirit of England rouse. They know thy strength : 
The furies of mankind are taught to fear at length. 

They wish a great event ; 
They see the danger, yet they fain 
Would 'tempt to cross the hostile main. 

And make a good descent. 

Let their huge rafts immortal be ; 
Impregnable to every force at sea ; 
See new invented castle smoke ; 
Hear them the gods of fire invoke. 
Approaching to our shore— 

They will return no more. 
See them at length obtain the strand. 
Their horse and foot at quick command. 
Forming line upon the sand — 

They will return no more. 

The mighty god whose trident rules the sea. 
Terrific frowns, and issues this decree : 
"Unhappy they who reach my sacred shore, 
"Doomed to return to Gallia's plains no more." 
I see the thunderer with vindictive ire. 
Repel their troops, and urge the vengeful fire ; 
While o'er the ranks of late insulting France, 
Triumphant Britain wields her conquering lance. 
This active fancy portrays to my view : 
Britions be bold : you'll make the fiction true. 

Thus erst, in great Eliza's reign, 
The grand Armada braved the seas in vain ; 
Nor less. Illustrious George, shall be thy fame, 
A loyal nation rises at thy name. 
And see, they Voluntary Contributions bring. 
Proud to assert the glorious cause 


Their Country and their King." 

Stavorinus tells us that in 1798 the English had "some 
warehouses and a factory" at Diamond Harbour, "much 


frequented by ships ; close to it is a channel called the 
Shrimp Channel." 

A little beyond Ishapore once stood Bankybazar. where 
the Ostend East India Company established a factory and 
a fort, it is supposed in 1724, and from which they were 
expelled in 1733, by the troops of the Mahomedan Govern- 
ment at the instigation of the English and the Dutch. 

There is a place on the sea coast, not far from Hidgelee, 
called Burcool, which about the year 1780 to 1785 w^as re- 
ckoned the Brighton of Calcutta. There were at that time 
many bungalows there, and the place was a considerable 
station ; but for some reason it became deserted, and in 
1823, only one bungalow remained standing ; this building 
had been erected by Warren Hastings. 

Akra, a little below Garden Reach, was in 1760, a salt 
depot ; afterwards it w^as used as a powder magazine, and 
subsequently as a Race Course. 

Howrah in 1799 had docks and a good garden belong- 
ing to the Armenians. The ground to the north-west of 
the church is marked in Upjohn's map as practising grounds 
of the Bengal Artillery. 

Surman's Bridge was situated near where Hastings' 
Bridge now^ is : it w^as built of brick, and was named after 
Mr. Surman, a member of council. He was a member of 
the Embassy to Delhi in 1717. His residence was to the 
south of the bridge in a place called Surman's Gardens, 
which is rendered memorable as the spot where the Gov- 
ernor and his party stopped when they cowardly deserted 
the Fort in 1756. 

Baraset, ten miles from Calcutta, was in 1763, and for 
many years afterwards, a favourite retreat for those wishing 
to enjoy a country life and pig-sticking. The way to it lav 
through Dum-Dum, then on the borders of the Sunder- 
bunds, where Lord Clive had a country house. 

Ghyretty had a magnificent house erected by the French 
as a second Versailles, noted for festivities in the days of 
Dupleix when 120 carriages lined its magnificent avenues. 

Warren Hastings had a garden house to the w^est of 
Belvedere House, now the residence of the Governor of 
Bengal, at Kidderpore. There is a note in the Council's 


proceedings of the 20th June, 1763, where Mr. Hastings 
requests permission of the Board to build a bridge over the 
Collyghaut Nallah on the road to his garden house. 
Agreed, his request to be complied with. 

The Luckypore Factory, which in 1761 stood a mile up 
a creek, locked in and secure both from the strong freshes 
and the impulse of bores, and the S.-W. monsoon, was in 
1767 so encroached upon by the river that it was eventu- 
ally washed away entirely. 

All the guns and stores were ordered, in February 
1793. to be brought from Budge-Budge, and that fort 
henceforward was no longer held as a military outpost. 

The Government having determined to dispose of the 
^vhole of the buildings and lands of Pultah Factory, and 
also of the old powder works at Manicolly and of Fort 
Gloucester, immediately opposite to Budge-Budge, a notice 
appears on the 15th April, offering them for competition at 
public auction on the 31st of May, 1790. The sale took 
place in July, when the buildings and premises were knock- 
ed do^vn to the following parties : — 

Pultah Factory Sa. Rs. 5,800 Messrs. Lee and Ullman. 

Do. Bleaching ground ,, 5,800 Mr. Ulman. 
Old Powder works „ 3,000 Mr. Tyler. 

Fort Gloucester ,, 2,450 Lieutenant Moggach. 

The Police Office in Lall Bazar was once the residence 
of John Palmer, one of the "merchant princes" of Calcutta. 

On the opposite side of the street stood the old Jail, 
which also served as the Tyburn of Calcutta, all the execu- 
tions taking place in the cross road near it. The pillory 
was erected also on that spot. At the siege of Calcutta in 
1756, it served like another Hougumont, as a point ot 

Opposite the old Jail and next to Palmer's house was 
the famous "Harmonican Tavern," in 1780. This build- 
ing was afterwards the Sailors' Home. It was the hand- 
somest house then in Calcutta, and proved a great comfort 
to the poor people in jail, to whom supplies of food were 
frequently sent from thence. It was founded in the days 
when strangers considered that "every house was a paradise, 
and every host an angel." Mrs. Fay writes of this house 


in 1780 : — "I felt far more gratified some time ago, when 
Mrs. Jackson procured me a ticket of gentlemen who each 
in alphabetical rotation gave a concert, ball and supper, 
during the cold season ; I believe once a fortnight. We 
had a great deal of delightful music, and Lady C — who is a 
capital performer on the harpsichord, played amongst other 
pieces, a Sonata of Nicolai's in a most brilliant style." 

The sandbank on the Seebpore side, opposite to the 
Fort, was formed by the sinking of a ship named the 
Sumatra, and hence named the Sumatra Sand. In conse- 
quence of this bank, the deep channel of the river ways 
diverted from its original course to the Calcutta side. 

Kidderpore was called after Colonel Kyd, an enter- 
prising European, the chief engineer on the Company's 
military establishment ; his two East Indian sons were the 
famous ship-builders. In 1818 was launched from this 
dock, the Hastings, a 74-gun ship. 

Facing Alipore Bridge is Belvedere, once the favourite 
residence of Warren Hastings, but during the latter period 
of his residence he erected another house further south. 
He is said to have hunted tigers in its neighbourhood, 
which is very probable, considering the state of other places 
at that time. Mrs. Fay, in 1780, describes Belvedere as "a 
perfect bijou, most superbly fitted up with all that un- 
bounded affluence can display." Stavorinus mentions visit- 
ing Behidere in 1768, when the then Governor of Bengal 
resided there. 

Jessop's Foundry was established by Mr. Jessop, who 
came out in 1700. He was sent by the Home Government 
to make an iron bridge for the King of Lucknow, and 
after having completed the work for which he was sent. 
he returned to Calcutta and commenced his foundry. 

The Bengal Club was established in Calcutta in the 
early part of 1827. 

Street Nomenclature 

Park Street, so called because it led to Sir E. Impey's 
Park, was in 1794 called by the name of the Burial Ground 
Road, it being the route for burials from town to the Circu- 
lar Road burial ground. It is remarked — "All funeral 
processions are concealed as much as possible from the sight 


of the ladies, that the vivacity of their tempers may not be 

Durrumtollah was formerly called "The Avenue," as it 
led from town to the Salt Water Lake and the adjacent 
country. It was then a "well raised causeway, raised by 
deepening the ditch on either side," with wretched huts 
on the south side, while on the north a creek ran through 
a street, still called Creek Row, through the Wellington 
Square tank, down to Chandpaul Ghaut. Large boats could 
navigate it. There were trees on both sides on the road. 
Durrumtollah (or Dharmatala) is so called from a great 
mosque, afterwards pulled down, which was on the site of 
what was long known as Cook's stables. The "Karbela," 
a famous Musalman assemblage, which now meets in the 
Circular Road, used then to congregate at that mosque, 
and by its local sanctity the street took its name of Dhar- 
matola or Holy street. The Durrumtollah Bazar occupies 
the site of the residence of Colonel De Glass, Superintend- 
ent of the Gun Manufactory, which was afterwards remov- 
ed to Cossipore. David Brown, the eminent Minister of 
the Old Church, occupied Colonel De Glass' house, in 
which he kept a boarding school. Among Mr. Brown's 
pupils were Sir Robert Grant, afterwards Governor of 
Bombay, and Lord Glenelg. 

Cossitollah (now Bentinck) Street, leading from Dhur- 
rumtollah into old Calcutta, was named after the "Kasai" 
or butchers, dealers in goats and cows' flesh, who formerly 
occupied it as their quarter. In 1757 Cossitollah was a 
mass of jungle and even as late as 1780, it was almost impas- 
sable from mud in the rains. In Upjohn's map of Calcutta 
in 1792, only two or three houses are marked in this loca- 
lity, of which one was that of Charles Grant, which was 
situated in Grant's Lane, which takes its name from that 
circumstance. In 1788 Mr. Mackinnon opened a school in 

Lall Bazar is mentioned by Holwell, in 1738, as a 
famous bazar. Mrs. Kindersley, in 1768, states it to have been 
the best street in Calcutta, "full of little shabby-looking 
shops called Boutiques, kept by black people." It then 
stretched from the Custom House to Baitakhana. In 1770 


Europeans and others here retailed "pariah arrack to the 
great debauchery of the soldiers." In 1788 Sir William 
Jones refers to the nuisance here of low taverns, kept by 
Italians, Spanish and Portuguese. 

The road from Lall Bazar to the Old Church was for- 
merly named the "Rope Walk," and ^vas the scene of hard 
fighting at the time of the siege of Calcutta in 1756. 

Old Court House Street, parallel with Mission Row, 
is so named from the old Court House, or Town Hall, 
which stood at the northern extremity of the street on the 
site of St. Andrew's Church. The Charity School boys 
were lodged and fed here previous to the battle of Plassey. 
The Charity School, which was the first in Calcutta, then 
contained twenty children. The Court House was erect- 
ed about 1727, by Mr. Bourchier, a merchant. In 1734. 
Mr. Bourchier gave over the house to Government, on con- 
dition of their supporting the charity. Lectures were 
occasionally given in this old Town Hall. Stavorinus writes 
of this place in 1776 : — "Over the Court House are two 
handsome assembly rooms. In one of these are hung up 
the portraits of the King of France, and of the late queen, 
as large as life, which were brought by the English from 
Chandernagore, when they took that place." 

Baitakhana Street recei\'ed its name from the famous 
old tree that stood here, and formed a baitakhana or resting- 
place for the merchants who traded with Calcutta, and 
whose caravans rested under its shade. Job Charnock is 
said to have chosen the site of Calcutta for a city, in con- 
sequence of the pleasure he found in sitting and smoking 
under the shade of a large tree ; this tree was probably 
the Baitakhana tree. "Here the merchants met to depart 
in bodies from Calcutta, to protect each other from robbers 
in the neighbouring jungle, and here they dispersed when 
they arrived at Calcutta with merchandise, for the factory." 
This tree finds a place in Upjohn's map of 1794. A car of 
Jugunnath, seventy feet high, formerly stood near to the 
big tree, and a thanna or guard-house was located under 
the branches of the tree. 

The first reference to the road on the river bank, on 
which the galaxy of Calcutta are wont to take their morn- 


ing and evening drives, we find in a letter from Mrs. 
Kindersley in 1768, where she says — "A little out of town 
is a clear airy spot, free from smoke, or any encumbrances, 
called the "Corse" (because it is a road, the length of a 
corse [koss] or two miles) in a sort of ring, or rather angle, 
made on purpose to take the air in, which the company 
frequent in their carriages about sunset, or in the morn- 
ing before the sun is up." An old song states that those 
^viio frequented it, "swallowed ten mouthfuls of dust for 
one of fresh air." The recreation then was "in chaises or 
by palankeens, in the fields or to gardens." 

In 1823 the Strand Road was formed, which led to a 
great sanitary improvement, though it injured the ship- 
builders, who had docks in Clive Street, and \veYe obliged 
to remove to Howrah and Sulkea. 

The continuation of the Strand Road to Garden Reach 
was commenced in the early part of 1828. The expense was 
estimated at about a lakh-and-a-half of rupees, which it was 
hoped to cover by a toll on carriages and passengers going 
over the bridge across the mouth of Tolly's Nullah. 

Aga Kerbulin Mahommed, who had already strikingly 
evinced his liberality and public spirit by a handsome con- 
tribution for the extension of the Strand Road to Garden 
Reach in the early part of 1829, contributed ten thousand 
rupees for the purpose of erecting a steam engine on the 
river at Bagh Bazar Ghaut during the dry season. 

Between Government House and Garden Reach is a 
broad open plain, about 150 acres in extent, called the 
Esplanade (Hindustani, maidan). It is laid out with fine 
broad macadamized roads, bordered with trees : the space 
between the roads is plain turf. Along the river's bank 
are the Eden Gardens, where is seen, in the evenings, the 
great show of fashionables out for the purpose of enjoying 
a drive — "eating the air" {howa-khana) as the Indians 
express it. 

Tank (now Dalhousie) Square, covers upwards of 
twenty-five acres of ground, and was in the last century, 
"in the middle of the city." Stavorinus states — "It was 
dug by order of Government to provide the inhabitants of 
Calcutta with water, which is very sweet and pleasant. 


The number of springs, which it contains, makes the water 
in it nearly always on the same level. It is railed round ; 
no one may wash in it." At what time this tank was dug, 
we cannot ascertain. Hamilton wrote in 1702 that the 
Governor "has a handsome house in the Fort : the Com- 
pany has also a pretty good garden, that furnishes the Gov- 
ernor herbage and fruits at table, and some fish ponds to 
serve his kitchen with good carp, callops and mullet." 
Perhaps the tank was one of the fish ponds, and the garden 
may have formed the Park or Tank Square. The tank 
was cleansed and embanked in Warren Hastings' time. 
The name of the Park was originally "The Green before 
the Fort," and afforded the residents of the fort a place for 
recreation and amusement. 

Wellington Square tank was excavated in 1822. It 
was one of the good works of the Lottery Committee. 

Chowringhee is a place of modern creation, having 
been chosen by the people of Calcutta as a garden retreat. 
In 1768 there were here a few European country houses ; 
this part of the city was considered "out of town," and 
palkee-bearers charged double fares for going to it ; while, 
at night, "servants returned from it in parties, having left 
their good clothes behind through fear of dacoits, which 
infested the outskirts of Chowringhee." There were once 
only two houses there. One was Sir Elijah Impey's, the 
very house since occupied as the Nunnery, a third storey 
only being added to it. On the site of the nunnery church 
was a tank called Gole Talao ; the surrounding quarter 
was Impey's park, which stretched to Chowringhee Road 
on the west, and to Park Street on the north ; an avenue 
of trees led through what is now Middleton Street into 
Park Street from his house, which was surrounded by a 
fine wall, a large tank being in font, and plenty of rooms for 
a deer-park. A guard of sepoys was allowed to patrol about 
the house and grounds at night, occasionally firing off their 
muskets to keep off the dacoits. The other house was what 
was afterwards St. Paul's school. In 1794 the residences in 
Chowringhee had increased to twenty-four, scattered bet- 
ween Durrumtollah and Brijetalao, the Circular Road and 
the Plain. 


Ghauts or Landing Places 

Colvin's Ghaut was formerly called the Kutcha Goodee 
Ghaut, or the place for careening country boats. They were 
hauled up on the banks of a narrow canal which ran 
through the town from this point to the Salt Water Lake. 
It was tilled up, and no trace of it is to be seen except in 
the old maps. It was on the bank of this creek, on the 
spot afterwards occupied by the Bengal Secretariat, that the 
southern battery of the old fort was thrown up in 1756. 

In the immediate vicinity of Colvin's Ghaut is the 
Police Ghaut, now adorned by the Metcalfe Hall, and there, 
in ancient times, before the capture of Calcutta, stood the 
house and ground of the President. The garden appears 
to have extended from the river to Tank (now Dalhousie) 
Square, then called the Park. A neat gateway terminated 
the Governor's garden in front of the Park, and it was from 
this gateway that he is described as walking down to the 
church, which stood at the western end of the Writers' 
Buildings, doubtless after his worthy masters had informed 
him, in 1728, that if he wanted a chaise and pair he must 
pay for them himself. 

Coelah (or Koila) Ghaut was formerly known as the 
New Wharf, and the old Custom House arose immediately 
above it. This ghaut stood at the southern extremity of 
the old Fort and marks the northern limit of that fortress. 

Chandpal Ghaut lies near the steam engine which so 
long supplied with water the aqueducts from which some 
of the streets were watered. Tradition connects the appel- 
lation of the ghaut with an Indian of the name of Chandru 
Pal, who kept a little grocer's shop in its immediate vici- 
nity. This is the spot where India welcomes and bids 
adieu to her rulers. It is here that the Governors-General, 
the Commanders-in-Chief, the Judges of the Supreme (now 
High) Court, the Bishops, and all who are entitled to the 
honors of a salute from the ramparts of Fort William, first 
set foot in the metropolis. It is not noticed in Joseph's 
Map of 1756, but we know that it was in existence in 1774 
^vhen Francis and his companions landed here, having had 
their sweet tempers soured by a five days' voyage from 
Kedgeree. It was here that the author of Junius counted 


one by one the guns, which boomed from the Fort, and 
found to his mortification that their number did not exceed 
seventeen, when he expected nineteen. And it was here 
that first Judges of the Supreme Court, who came out to 
redress the wrongs of India, landed. It was here, that the 
Chief Justice, as he contemplated the bare legs and feet of 
the multitude who crowded to witness his advent, exclaim- 
ed to his colleague, "See, brother, the wretched victims of 
tyranny. The Crown Court was not surely established be- 
fore it was needed. I trust it will not have been in opera- 
tion six months before we shall see these poor creatures 
comfortably clothed in shoes and stockings." 

Prinsep's Ghaut, which is situated under the south- 
west angle of Fort William, was erected by public subs- 
cription to perpetuate the memory of James Prinsep, one of 
the most eminent men of his day, who after a short and 
brilliant career, fell a sacrifice to his ardour in the pursuit 
of science. It is a huge and ugly pile, on which a large 
sum was expended without taste or judgment. Its loca- 
lity is as objectionable as its architecture. It is entirely out 
of the way of public convenience, and is seldom used as a 
landing-stairs. The most memorable event connected with 
it is the departure of Lord Ellenborough, who instead of 
embarking, as all his predecessors had done, at Chandpal 
Ghaut, thought fit to gratify his military predilections by 
driving with his cortege through the Fort, and taking his 
farewell of Calcutta on the steps of Prinsep's Ghaut. 

Places of Note in the Immediate Vicinity 

Upwards of a century and-a-half ago, Barrackpore and 
its precincts formed the Tusulum of that old Anglo-Indian 
patriarch, Job Charnock, the founder of Calcutta. He used 
to come hither, not so much to avoid the dust and bother 
of his bustling capital, as to be near the grave where there 
rested one with whom his heart still beat in sympathy. 
This is in allusion to his wife — a Hindoo woman, whom 
he had espoused after rescuing from burning on the fune- 
ral pile of her deceased husband. 

Titaghur, about a mile and half distant from Barrack- 
pore, was once a scene of life and activity, about eighty 
years ago. Messrs. Hamilton and Aberdeen, enterprizing 


merchants of Calcutta, established a dockyard there at the 
beginning of the present century, and in 1801, the largest 
merchantman ever built on the Hooghly, the Countess of 
Sutherland, of 1445 tons, was launched there. The next 
year the Susan, of humbler dimensions, was built thete, 
and in 1803, the Frederick of 450 tons. This appears to 
have been the last vessel constructed at the Titaghur dock- 
yard, which was soon after closed, and of which not a single 
vestige now remains. A stone's throw from the site of 
the old dockyard is a ghaut with some dilapidated temples 
above it, which is still remembered as the place where for 
thirty years Dr. Carey landed and embarked as he went 
down to Calcutta and returned from it twice a week, to 
deliver lectures in Fort William College. 

Barrackpore Park was created by the taste and public 
spirit of Lord Wellesley, seventy years ago, and to which 
all subsequent Governors-General have retired from the 
noise and bustle of the town to rural privacy. It was 
originally the intention of Lord Wellesley to have brought 
all the public offices up from Calcutta and established them 
in the vicinity of the Park. It was with this object that 
he erected a large bungalow, on the site of the present 
house, for a temporary residence, and near it he laid the 
foundation of a palace ^v hich was to have cost four lakhs 
of rupees. But the Court of Directors peremptorily pro- 
hibited the outlay of so large a sum on such an object, and 
the work was suspended, after the basement storey had 
been erected. The beams, doors, and windows, and all the 
other materials, which had been collected, were sold by 
auction ; but the shell of the house stood for many years, 
till the Marchioness of Hastings pulled it down, and erect- 
ed a conser\atory on its site. The temporary bungalow, 
which Lord Wellesley had erected, served the turn of Lord 
Minto, who spent much of his time at Barrackpore with 
his family, but the Marquis of Hastings enlarged it into the 
present more commodious mansion. 

As a specimen of architecture, the Barrackpore palace 
has scarcely any claims to excellence. The Marquis Wel- 
lesley had originally commenced this building with the 
intention of making it a suitable abode of one who had 


subverted the throne of Tippoo, humbled the power of 
the Mahrattas, and numbered among his proteges the Great 
Mogul of Delhi. The house is adorned with some excel- 
lent portraits of the royal family of Oude, from the pencil 
of Mr. Home. 

Barrackpore is known by the natives only by the name 
of Chanuck, from the circumstance of Charnock having 
established a bungalow there and gathered a little bazar 
around it. Troops were first stationed at Barrackpore in 
1772, and from that time forward it has acquired the bar- 
barous name of Barrackpore among Europeans, an un- 
natural compound of an English word and a Sanskrit ter- 

Turning round the bed of the river at Barrackpore we 
come to the village of Muneerampore, at the northern end 
of which is the house and garden once occupied by General 
Marley, long the father of the Indian Army, who arrived 
in India in the year 1771, and died in 1842, after a resi- 
dence of seventy-one years in it. 

North of Cossipore lies Barnagore, well dotted with 
brick houses, which indicate the remains of that opulence 
which grew up with the commercial establishments of the 
Dutch. During the greater part of the last century this 
settlement belonged to them, and here their vessels anchor- 
ed on their way to Chinsurah. It is said to have been 
originally a Portuguese establishment. It was a place of 
considerable trade when Calcutta was the abode of wild 

To the north of Dukhinsore lies the Powder Magazine. 
More than twenty lakhs of rupees have been expended in 
the erection of steam-engines and country houses, in the 
space between Dukhinsore and the Chitpore Canal, in a 
range of less than three miles. 

Sook Saugor was formerly at a considerable distance from 
the river, which has of late made fearful encroachment, 
and has not left a vestige of the magnificent house of the 
Revenue Board that cost a lakh and-half in its erection. 
The Marquis of Cornwallis and suite used often in the hot 
weather to retire to it, as it was the government country- 
seat before the etablishment of Barrackpore. The house 


of Mr. Barretto, and a Roman Catholic Chapel erected by 
him in 1789, at a cost of 9,000 rupees, have also been 
washed away. Mr. Barretto here had a rum distillery in 
1792, as also sugar works ; in his time the place was called 
Chota Calcutta. On Clive passing Sook Saugor, a small 
battery there gave him a salute, he imagining it to be an 
enemy's entrenchment, ordered it to be dismantled. On 
the courts being removed from Moorshedabad to Calcutta 
in 1772, the Revenue Board was fixed there, as it was 
thought more suitable than Calcutta, from being in the 
country. Forster in 1789, gives the following description 
of Sook Saugor : — "Sook Saugor is a valuable and rising 
plantation, the property of Messrs. Crofts and Lennox ; 
and these gentlemen have established at this place a fabric 
of white cloth, of which the Company provide an annual 
in\ estment of two lakhs of rupees ; they have also founded 
a raw silk manufactory, which as it bears the appearance 
of increase and improvement, will, I hope, reward the in- 
dustrious, estimable labours of its proprietors." The 
encroachments of the river, together with the formation of 
a large bazar at Chagda, a short distance north of the town, 
have led to the decay of Sook Saugor, which owed much of 
its prosperity to Mr. Barretto, who made many roads there, 
planted with neem trees on both sides, which remain to this 


Public Entertainments 

Punch houses and taverns, where entertainments were 
usual, began to be rather numerous in Lall Bazar as early 
as 1780, even while the "Harmonic" was in its zenith. 
Howksworth mentions, — "I was, en passant, shown a tavern, 
called the London Hotel, where entertainments are fur- 
nished at the moderate price of a gold mohur a head, ex- 
clusive of the dessert and wines. At the coffee-houses your 
single dish of coffee costs you a rupee (half a crown) ; which 
half a crown, however, franks you to the perusal of the 
English newspapers, which are regularly arranged on a file, as 
in London ; together with the Calcutta Advertiser, the 
Calcutta Chronicle, Sec, Sec, and, for the honor of Calcutta, 
be it recorded, that the two last named publications are, 
what the English prints formerly were, moral, amusing and 
intelligent." The chief strangers that came to Calcutta 
and visited the hotels, were the captains of the Indiamen, 
great personages in their day. 

"Vauxhall and Fireworks, at Cossinaut Baboo's Garden 
House, in the Durrumtollah ;" so runs the heading of an 
advertisement by Mr. Gairard, on the 4th December, 1788 
— "Mr. Gairard does himself the pleasure to acquaint the 
ladies and gentlemen of Calcutta, that his Vauxhall Exhi- 
bition of Fireworks will commence this day, Thvn^sday, the 
4th instant, by a grand display entitled 'The Garden of 
Pleasure.' The detached pieces that precede the grand 
displav are of a new invention, and very curious. The first 
of which will exhibit The Compliments. The Garden is 
laid out in very great order, with the additional advant- 
age of new walks, all covered in, to protect the company 
from the vapours of the evening, and when illuminated, 
will afford a very pleasing coup cl'ceil. The fireworks w^ill 
commence at eight o'clock precisely. Mr. Gairard has- 


likewise fitted up several large boxes for the reception of 
families who may wish to be accommodated by themselves, 
at 60 sicca rupees each, with refreshments included." 

"The celebration of His Majesty's recovery from his 
late unfortunate malady took place on the 28th July, 1789, 
and no means within the power of the inhabitants of this 
settlement were withheld to demonstrate their joy on the 
occasion" — so wrote the editor of the Gazette. Royal 
salutes, and feux de joie were fired, and in the evening the 
town of Calcutta and suburbs "were illuminated, and the 
whole concluded with a concert and supper given by the 
Right Honorable the Governor General. We give the 
Gazette's description of the illuminations : — "The Old 
Court House, the Government House, the great tank, and 
the two principal streets leading north and south to the 
Esplanade, were adorned by Mr. Gairard, well known for 
his skill in this mode of embellishment ; and though the 
causes mentioned (a heavy fall of rain and repeated show- 
ers afterwards) prevented, in a great degree, the general 
effect that would have attended his plans had the weather 
been favorable, many parts of them, the Old Court House 
and the Government House in particular, afforded an 
admirable display of beauty and magnificence. Besides 
these the illuminations of individuals were abundant, and 
would, had not the weather proved unfa\'orable, have exhi 
bited a most extensive, if not universal, blaze of splendour 
over the European part of the town. "God save the King" 
— "Long live the King" — "Vive le Roi" — "Vivant Rex et 
Regina" — and other loyal mottos shone in all quarters, and 
the following in the house of the Accountant General 
demanded particular attention. — "The King trusteth in 
the Lord and in the Mercy of the most High, he shall not 
be moved" — "He asked life of Thee and Thou gavest him 
it" — "Thou knowest that the Lord saveth His anointed." 

"[Advertisement.] Mr. Stuart has desired it to be 
signified (through the channel of this paper) to the ladies 
and gentlemen of the settlement, that the Old Court House 
appearing, on a survey, not to be in a condition to admit 
of the safe accommodation of the usual company, he is 
obliged to deny himself the pleasure of meeting them at the 


customary periods of the approaching season, November 
22nd, 1791." In the following year (1792), we find this gentle- 
man had his parties at the Theatre. He requests the favor 
of their company (the gentlemen in the Honorable Com- 
pany's Civil and Military Services) to a concert and supper, 
•on the 23rd April, "to celebrate the national success in the 
late war and the happy restoration of peace." 

On the celebration of His Majesty's birthday, a ball 
and supper were gi^'en at the Theatre on the 6th Decem- 
ber. 1792, when the ball was opened by Lady Jones, wife 
of Sir William Jones, the eminent orientalist. 

We note this incident only to allude to a reminis- 
cence, given by the editor of the "Selections from the Cal- 
cutta Gazettes," lately published. "The late Mr. Blac- 
quiere, magistrate of the town of Calcutta, and interpreter 
in the late Supreme Court, who died in 1852, at the age of 
90 and upwards, used to talk of having danced a minute 
with Lady Jones, as a young man." 

Nautches used to be given at the different Hindoo 
houses at the Doorga Poojas. The most popular of the 
Hindoo gentlemen Avas "Sookmoy Roy," at whose house 
^'two large swing punkhas were kept constantly in motion, 
to keep the room cool. Here (in 1792) a novelty was in- 
troduced in the Pooja ceremonies, namely, a combination 
of English airs with the Hindostanee songs." This inno- 
vation seems not to have succeeded, "owing to the indiffer- 
ent skill of the inusicians." 

One writer noticing the subject says, "but the favour- 
ite simple air of Malbrook was played so as to be immedi- 
ately distinquishable." 

"The majority of company crowded to Raja Nabkis- 
sen's Avhere several mimics attempted to imitate the man- 
ners of different nations." 

Those ^vere times (1792) when the expenditure of 
money was thought little of, a gold mohur passing almost 
as a rupee in value. 

\Ve see an advertisement of tickets for a ball at Mrs. 
Le Gallais' rooms for sale at one gold mohur each. On 
the occasion of a subscription being got up for the build- 
ing of a Edinburgh University, Lord Cornwallis gave 3,000 


sicca rupees, Honorable C. Stuart, 2,000 sicca rupees, and 
so on — one small list, showing a total of subscriptions ot 
over 30,000 rupees. 

On the 6th February, 1792, was achieved the great 
victory to the British arms at Seringapatam, and on the 
anniversary of that day (1793) a superb entertainment was 
given at the Calcutta Theatre, by the principal gentlemen 
of the Civil Establishment to Lord Cornwallis and a 
numerous company. 

Here is a description of the gorgeous illumination oa 
that occasion : — "The whole front of the Theatre was com- 
pletely illuminated, by which means, independent of the 
grand effect of the profusion of lamps, any embarrassment 
in arriving at the doors was entirely pre^ ented, though the 
crowd of spectators, palanquins, &c., was of course immense : 
and facing the front was a very large transparent painting 
by Mr. Devis, from a drawing by Lieutenant Conyngham, 
of the 76th, exhibiting the storm of Bangalore by the 
British troops on the night of the 21st March, 1791. 

At the western entrance of the room, the boxes and gal- 
lery were overhung wath splendid canopies of silk in the form 
of tents, betAveen which were erected a variety of banners, 
helmets, and military trophies ; amongst which one in the 
centre bore the coronet of the Earl, and at different spaces 
the Company's crest was fixed on sable escutcheons. The 
eastern end of the great room was also decorated with mar- 
tial ornaments, and over the centre of them appeared a 
brilliant star. The banners represented the colors of every 
regiment that was at the siege, and beneath them were 
reversed the flags of Tippoo Sultan. There were also two 
large banners, charged, the one with the royal arms, and 
the other with the arms of the Company. In front of the 
eastern door of the house was a grand transparent view of 
Seringapatam, by Messrs. Devis and Solwyns, from a draw- 
ing of Lieutenant Colebrooke. Over the windows were 
light transparent views of the principal forts taken from 
the enemy, Ossore, Ryacotta, Nanadroog. Severndroog. 
Oottradroog, Ramgery, and Shivagery, painted by Mr. 
Solwyns, from drawings of Lieutenant Colebrooke. The 
ceiling was beautifully decorated with flowers, laurels, and 


foil, which also were profusely twined around the pillars. 
A number of most elegant lustres were suspended from the 
roof, and the walls ^\ere ornamented with splendid mirrors. 
The benches were covered with crimson silk, and gold and 
silver fringes. At 11 o'clock the ball commenced with a 
figure dance \ery elegantly performed by the follow- 
ing ladies : Mrs. Haldane, Mrs. Montgomery, Mrs. 
Hewett, Mrs. BarloAV, Mrs. Peter Murray, Mrs. Col- 
lins, Miss Mackintosh and Miss Frail. Each lady was 
dressed in a uniform of white satin, with gold fringe, and 
a bandeau with the words "6th of February" inscribed on 
it. Lord Cornwallis ^vas present, as was His Highness the 
Nawab Saadut Aly, and his son, together with several 
foreigners of distinction ; the company was extremely 
numerous, and appeared to feel the highest satisfaction on 
the occasion." 

A few days after (27th March 1793) the senior military 
officers gave a ball and supper at the Theatre in commemo- 
ration of the peace of Seringapatam. The decorations of 
the rooms were so different from those on the occasion 
alluded to above, that we cannot pass them over without 
some notice : — "The appearance of the Theatre, on enter- 
ing it, was at once magnificent and chaste, splendid, yet 
not glaring. The eye, after contemplating the double 
range of pillars which were decorated with w^hite foil, and 
entwined with spiral wreaths of roses, was struck with a 
representation of the temple of Janus placed in the recess, 
which terminated the view, and excited the atttention by 
this appropriate inscription — "Cludor, ne temere Paream !" 

On each side of the vestibule in the approach to the 
temple were placed in basso-relievo the busts of Augustus 
and of Trajan ; above that of the former emperor was re- 
presented the restoration of the Roman standards and 
eagles, which had been seized from Crassus ; above the bust 
of Trajan, the Dacian chief was represented imploring the 
clemency of his imperial conqueror. 

The floor of the vestibule was painted in imitation of 
variegated marble. At the east end of the great room, were 
the whole length figures of Justice and Fortitude ; at the 
"^vest, of Peace and Plenty. Over the entrance of the room 


a music gallery was erected, in front of which, on a medal- 
lion, in attitudes at once beautiful and correct, were print- 
ed the Graces, and on each side of them, in different com- 
partments, the emblematic figures of Music and the 
Dances." We need not describe the entertainment as it 
was very similar to the other noted above. 

On the King's birthday, 3rd December 1793, "a party 
of gentlemen dined with Sir John Shore at the Govern- 
ment House, among whom were the Governor of Chin- 
surah, Chief of Serampore, Sec. 

In the evening the ball and supper at the Theatre 
were very numerously attended ; the ball was opened by 
Mrs. Chapman and Sir George Leith, and the minutes con- 
tinued till near 12 o'clock, when the company retired to a 
very elegant supper. 

After supper country-dances commenced, and were 
continued ^vith great spirit till 4 o'clock in the morning," 
and it is added — "We observed with much pleasure for the 
first time several Armenian ladies and gentlemen joining 
in the dance." It seems strange to us that the dance 
should have been gi\en in the Theatre while the dinner 
was given at Government House. 

At the St. Andrew's Dinner, which was held at the 
Theatre in 1794, and whereat a very numerous party were 
gathered, the usual loyal and other toasts were drunk, and 
then followed these two unique toasts — "May the British 
constitution pervade the earth and trample anarchy under 
foot," and "May the British empire in all its parts ever 
exhibit the same harmony and unanimity that animate the 
present company." The Mirror had no need to tell us, 
that at this time "the bottle had a rapid circulation." 

A grand musical entertainment was given in the New 
Church on the 27th of February 1797, for the benefit of 
the Free School Societv, when a selection from the works of 
Handel was given, and a thousand tickets were sold, which 
essentially benefited the charity. The performance com- 
menced at a little after 7 and ended a little before 11 

"New Public Rooms, Tank Square," seem to have 
been opened in the autumn of 1798, and the first assembly 


of the public for dances. Sec, took place on the 13th Nov- 
ember, 1798. 

"The commemoration of the glorious and memorable 
battle of Assaye was celebrated on Sunday, the 23rd Sep- 
tember, 1804, at the Government House, where a grand 
dinner was given to the Hon'ble the Chief Justice, the 
members of Council, the Judges of the Supreme Court, 
Major-General Wellesley, the Envoy from Bagdad, and tO' 
all the principal civil and military officers and British in- 
habitants of Calcutta. The toasts of : — Major-General 
Wellesley ; the Army of the Deccan and the memory of the 
battle of Assaye ; with our illustrious Commander-in-Chief^ 
and the Army in Hindustan, were drank with enthusiasm. 
The bands of the Governor General and of His Majesty's 
22nd Regiment played martial airs during the entertain- 
ment ; and at sunset, a royal salute was fired from the ram- 
parts of Fort William, in honor of the battle of Assaye. 
The Governor General and Major-General Wellesley 
attended divine service in the morning of the 23rd at the 
Old Church, when a sermon suitable to the occasion was 
preached by the Reverend Mr. Brown." We have italicised 
a portion of this information, showing how our rulers were 
accustomed to combine the outward forms of religion with 
convivialitv. No wonder if such desecration of the Sab- 
bath was practised in high places, that was little of the 
vitality of religion among the general public. 

On the 11th September 1807, being the anniversary of 
the battle of Delhi, a splendid entertainment was given in 
"the new Theatre at Barrackpore," at which were present 
the Right Hon'ble Lord Minto, the Governor General, 
General St. Leger and Staff, the whole of the officers and 
ladies at the station, and a numerous party of visitors from 

We note this assemblage only to remark on the strange 
airs played by the band on certain of the toasts of the even- 
ing : — "The Queen and Royal Family" was followed by 
the air — Merrily danced the Quaker's wife ; "The Hon'ble 
East India Company," by Money in both pockets, and "Lord 
Wellesley," by St. Patrick's day in the morning. 

Punkhas though they had come into fashion, appear 


not to have been in general use in Calcutta up to the pre- 
sent time, for, in an advertisement by Mr. Lathrop, who 
announces a series of lectures on Mechanics at Moor's 
Rooms, that gentleman "having been informed that some 
ladies and gentlemen have declined to subscribe to his 
lectures, on account of the warmth of the season, begs leave' 
to assure them that the rooms are rendered cool and com- 
fortable by means of punkhas, and that those who attended 
the introductory lecture, declared that they suffered no 
inconvenience from the heat of the weather, or the state of 
the air in the spacious and airy hall in which they were 
assembled." This was in May 1808, 

The following extraordinary scene occurred at a enter- 
tainment given by Sir Charles Metcalfe on the 21st Decem- 
ber, 1827, to the Right Hon'ble the Governor-General and 
the Countess Amherst. 

"The company amounted to about 400 persons, com- 
prising all the rank, beauty and fashion of Calcutta. In 
the course of the evening, a group of visitors made their 
appearance in the proper costume of the principal charac- 
ters in Shakespeare's plays, led on by Prospero, and the rear 
brought up by Dogberry. On reaching the gorgeous pavi- 
lion where the Governor-General and his party were seated, 
Prospero delivered an appropriate address. 

The several personages in the group then mixed in 
the dance, exhibiting sundry amusing anachronisms. 
Falstaff led out a fashionable beauty of the anciene regime. 
The Ghost of Hamlet too might be obsen^ed holding con- 
verse with Titania, until scared a little by the sudden 
appearance of Bottom, who just brayed his approbation on 
the scene and then vanished. Shylock also, for a moment, 
forgot his bond and spoke to some lady whom he recognis- 
ed ; while Henry VUI addressed Lady Percy, and Anna 
Boleyn replied to some remark of Dr. Cains, who did not 
at all appear surprised to see Oberon treading on the toes 
of the vernacular Dogberry, or the haughty Wolsey holding 
a long confab with a jolly carter." 


Notice is given for a series of "assemblies" to be held 
at the "Harmonic House," once a week in November, 1784: 


This seems to have been the commencement of public 
gaieties in Calcutta. 

On the appearance of this announcement, the pro- 
prietors of the "London Tavern" advertise a series of simi- 
lar "assemblies" at their house : — "They flatter themselves 
with the hopes of some encouragement and support from a 
generous public, when they solemnly declare that they did 
not know that the Harmonic House would be again open- 
ed as a tavern, when they contracted with a builder, about 
two months ago to erect a large and commodious Assembly 
Room, 96 feet long and 36 feet wide, and which the builder 
has engaged to finish by the 14th November next. In case 
the room shall not appear to be sufficiently dry, they 
humbly hope the subscribers will be contented Avith their 
present rooms, one of which is 68 feet by 22, for a short 

"They have contracted with a person to supply them 
with oysters ;" from which it would appear that oysters 
formed a regular and favourite refreshment with visitors to 
such places of amusement. At the Harmonic it is notified 
-- — "No hookahs to be admitted upstairs." 

The following strange and curious rules for the first 
of a series of subscription dances at the Calcutta Theatre 
(1792) will amuse our readers: — "(1) That minutes be 
danced on the nights of dress assemblies only. (2) That 
ladies be taken out to dance minuets according to the rank 
their husbands hold in the King's or Hon'ble Company's 
service. (3) That ladies whose husbands are not in the 
King's or Hon'ble Company's service, be taken out to dance 
minuets in the order they come into the room, and that 
this regulation hold good with regard to unmarried ladies. 
(In preservation of this rule, ladies are to receive tickets 
as they enter the room.) (4) That all ladies draw lots for 
places in cotmtry dances. (5) That any lady allowing the 
first couple to pass the place corresponding with the num- 
ber of her ticket shall stand the last couple for that dance. 
(6) That ladies having gone down a country dance shall 
stand up for all the couples who are to follow, or not dance 
any more that night. (7) That hookers be not admitted 
to the ball room during any part of the night. (But 


hookers might be admitted to the supper rooms, to the 
card rooms, to the boxes in the theatre, and to each side of 
the assembly room, between the large pillars and the 


A ball in India is a different affair from the same scene 
in England. 

"In the first place, the company includes no old ladies 
— at least, of the softer sex ; for doubtless there are the usual 
proportion in breeches. The absence of elderly persons in 
Indian society, is one of the first things that strike a new 
arrival. At a certain age, people usually leave the country, 
and thus there is always a degree of youthfulness about the 
company one meets. But, strange to say, young unmarried 
ladies are as scarce as old ones, and naturally more in 
demand : consequently, a lady's dancing days last as long 
as she remains in India, and a man has the satisfaction of 
seeing the mother of his six children as much in request, 
even among young sparks, as before he married her, while 
any damsel not yet wedded has as many partners on hand 
as she could accommodate in a ^veek. Hence ttie light fan- 
tastic toe has enough to do, and has to keep up the steam 
to the end of the chapter. 

Fortunately the ball rooms are expressly adapted for 
such efforts, being lofty, spacious, and airy, windows open 
on every side, and ventilation facilitated by a hundred- 
punkah power. A white cloth, coated with French chalk, 
covers the floor and affords a smooth surface for the feet. 
Among the male portion of the company there is a great 
predominance of uniforms, while the toilettes of the ladies 
are of the most expensive kind, and, there being no lack 
of lights, the v/hole forms a brilliant scene." 

One of the prizes held out to a young lady on reaching 
India, as open to all comers, was "three hundred a year, 
dead or alive," which passed into a proverb and was stamp- 
ed on the damsel's brow as plain as print. The meaning 
was that by marrying a member of the Civil Service, she 
secured a husband with at least £300 a year, and at his 
death, would be entitled to a pension from the Civil Fund 
to the same amount. The latter provision, however, was 
contingent on the husband having served a certain period ; 


and, on one occasion, this fact was commvniicated to a lady 
at a grand dinner just after her marriage, when she could 
not conceal her disappointment, but called across the table 
to her husband — "John, John, it's a do after all : it is a do." 

In 1793, we find that ladies were accustomed to dance 
from 9 in the evening till 5 o'clock in the morning — and 
at the beginning of the present century, the ladies, accord- 
ing to Lord Valentia, were in the habit not unfrequently 
of dancing themselves into the grave. 

"Consumptions," he writes, "are very frequent among 
the ladies, which I attribute, in a great measure, to their 
incessant dancing even during the hottest weather. After 
such violent exercise they go into the verandas and expose 
themselves to a cool breeze and damp atmosphere." 

"Advertisement. — Mr. Macdonald presents his res- 
pects to the ladies and gentlemen amateurs of dancing, and 
inJEorms them that he xvill instruct any lady or gentleman, 
who are in the habit of dancing, in the fashionable Scotch 
step, and its application to country dancing, for sicca rupees 
100. Besides the fashionable step, the atheletic and agile, 
may be taught a variety of Scotch steps, eqtially elegant, 
but more difficult in the execution, for an additional 
charge" (1795). 

"Advertisement. — Subscription Concert. As Mr. 
Oehme finds the rules concerning his concerts are not gene- 
rally understood in the settlement, he takes this method to 
prevent any further mistake. Seven ladies, scholars of Mr. 
Oehme, have each a separate list ; and upon one or the 
other of those lists the name of every subscriber is entered. 
The subscription is 80 sicca rupees ; and the ladies of the 
families of subscribers are invited by tickets, with their 
names upon them ; but neither these nor subscribers' tickets 
are transferable. Any lady may, by entering her name in 
one of the lists, become a subscriber for any number of 
visiting tickets, at 100 sicca rupees each ; and such visiting 
tickets, having the subscribing lady's name on them, become 
transferable either to a lady or a gentleman." 

"The General Management of the Bengal Militarv 
Orphan Society," says an advertisement in the Gazette of 
the 1st November, 1810, "having found occasion to form 


some arrangements for the better regulation of the monthly 
dance gi\'en by the society to the daughters of officers at the 
Kidderpore school, notice is hereby given that no person 
whomsover will, in future, be admitted to this entertain- 
ment without producing a printed card of invitation." 
Then follows an intimation of the parties admissible and 
■^vhere cards could be obtained. These entertainments 
were held twice a month, and were the means by which 
many of the young people were enabled to get married to 
members of both services. 

Dignity Ball in 1829 

Occasionally a Calcutta paper contains an advertise- 
ment to the effect that Mr. Higgs, or Mrs. Ramsbottom, or 
some such worthy, will give a grand masked ball at his or 
her house in Cossitollah, or any other less respectable 
quarter ; — "tickets of admission, three rupees each — masks, 
dominos, and fancy dresses to be procured on the pre- 
mises." Here is a description of one of these balls, taken 
from the United Service Journal : — 

"An inqusitive stranger may perhaps feel an inclina- 
tion to gratify his curiousity as to the style of entertainment, 
and the calibre of the guests who honor it with their pre- 
sence. In such case he might, at nine or ten o'clock in the 
e^cning, induct himself into a palankeen, and hie him to 
the scene of action ; and, if a prudent man, he will not fail 
to have brought as his companion a small switch, not much 
more than half as thick as his wrist. On obtaining admit- 
tance he will glide into an anteroom, where an accommo- 
dating attendant will, for a consideration of two rupees, 
purvey unto him a mask and domino. 

"Ascending to the ball-room, he will find it lighted by 
a profusion of tallow candles in lustres and girandoles, and 
furnished with green baize benches, and a varied assort- 
ment of chairs, probably purchased separately, at as many 
auctions (or outcries, to use the Anglo-Indian term) as 
there may be chairs in the room. The music will consist 
of two violins, a tambourine, and if you are in luck, a 
triangle will be added thereto. The performers, like all 
wandering minstrels, will, to a certainty, be deaf, blind, or 


"I have spoken of the lighting, furniture, and music ; 
it now only remains to notice the company ; and a goodly 
one it is. The majority consists of half-caste clerks, and 
the lowest uncovenated servants of the Honorable Com- 
pany, fancy men, and other ornaments of the Calcutta punch- 
houses, with a liberal contribution of mates and appren- 
tices from the merchant ships in port. Curiosity has per- 
haps attracted in disguise a stray writer, or youthful tyro 
in the civil service, and probably an adventurous ensign, 
or hair-brained cadet from the South Barracks, all well 
satisfied that they are clothed in an impenetrable incog- 
nito. Of the females who enliven this select coterie, I 
must in justice say, that they are exactly in the sphere which 
they are alone calculated to grace and adorn. The fun 
now grows fast and furious ; quadrille and boisterous 
country-dance (here unexploded) succeed each other with 
exhausting rapidity. In these happy regions flirtations are 
briskly carried on, unfettered by the argus eyes of cautious 
mammas or veteran chaperons ; the only contretemps arising 
from the mischievousness and impudence of some aspiring 
son of Mars, who pertinaciously provokes the black looks 
and angry mutterings of an enamoured quill-driver. 

"At length appears the host, a red-faced individual, 
with lank hair, and a corpulent person, who might be mis- 
taken indiscriminately for a retired prize-fighter, or a 
ci-devant proprietor of a disreputable ham and beef shop. 
This prepossessing specimen of the genus homo perpetrates 
his best bow, and informs the "ladies and gen'lm'n" that 
supper is ready. Hereupon ensues a scramble towards that 
apartment, where entertainment hath been amply provided 
for the convives. Seats being taken, and order in some 
degree restored, there is a call by some presiding plebeian, 
a would-be arbiter elegantiarum, for the "gentlemen to be 
pleased to remove their masks" — a measure intended, I 
suppose, as a sort of test of the respectability of the com- 
pany. This condition, however, is resisted by some scrupu- 
lous sprig of Calcutta aristocracy, who shudders at the pos- 
sibility of recognition, whereupon every symptom of a row 
presents itself until the voracity of the proposer and his 
canaille supporters induces them to yield tlie point, rather 


than see the supper devoured before their eyes by that 
wiser section of the guests who have taken no part in the 
dispute, prompted by a judicious resohition to employ their 
teeth rather than their tongue. 

"Now the work of demohtion proceeds in good earnest. 
An interesting-looking animal in a blue-jacket bedizened 
with tawdry lace, who chances to be your vis-a-vis at table, 
begs that he may "ave the honour of elping you to a little 
am." coaxing you to compliance by an assurance that it 
shall be cut Svery thin.' Meantime the fair object of his 
attentions, seated at his side, is discussing with silent rapi- 
dity a plateful of cold tongue, with the unusual adjunct 
of blancmange, a novel mixture, which she has either ap- 
proved by experience, or, more probably, is induced to 
adopt from an apprehension of having no time to attack 
each separately : laboriously plying her knife and fork, her 
eyes are greedily scanning the dainties set before her, whilst 
her corkscrew ringlets wanton alternately on her neigh- 
bour's plate, or in the frothv head of a tumbler of Hodg- 
son's plate ale which flanks her." 


The first building that was devoted to theatricals was 
situated behind the present Writers' Buildings in Dalhousie 

Subscription theatrical performances were started in 
October of the year 1795. Six performances were to be 
given in the "season ;" a subscriber paying 120 sicca rupees 
was entitled to a "ticket for the season for himself and 
every lady of his family" — single tickets were 64 rupees 
each. The first subscription play took place on the 30th 
October, when was represented the farce of "Trick upon 
Trick, or the Vintner in the Suds," with the musical enter- 
tainment of "the Poor Soldier." 

Theatrical talent must have been at a very low ebb 
indeed, when such a bill of fare as the following was the 
best that could be given in the way of amusement at the 
Calcutta Theatre : — "On W^ednesday next, the 13th May, 
1795, will be performed the farce of Neck or Nothing ; and 
the musical Entertainment of The Waterman ; with a view 
of Westminister Bridge, and a representation of the Row- 


ing match. Pit and box, sixteen rupees ; upper boxes, 
twelve rupees ; gallery, eight rupees." 

Here is another performance to which our ancestors 
crowded to see represented on the Calcutta stage in 1795 : 
— "The Farce of Barnaby Brittle, with a new musical enter- 
tainment called Rule Britannia." 

The old theatre was used for performances until 1808, 
when the house and adjoining buildings were purchased by 
a member of ^e Tagore family, Gopeymohun Tagore, who 
added to the buildings and formed the whole of the pre- 
mises into a bazar, which he called the New China Bazar 
— by which name it is still known. 

There existed in 1795 another theatre in Doomtullah, 
a lane leading out of the Old China Bazar, and near to the 
other theatre. The manager of the Doomtullah, in that 
year, announced an unique performance : — "By permis- 
sion of the Honorable the Governor General, Mr. Lebedeff"s 
New Theatre in the Doomtullah, decorated in the Bengalee 
style, will be opened very shortly, with a play called The 
Disguise ; the characters to be supported by performers of 
both sexes. To commence with \ocal and instrumental 
music called The Indian Serenade. To those musical ins- 
truments, which are held in esteem by the Bengalees, will 
be added European. The words of the much admired Poet 
'Shree Bharut Chundro Roy' are set to music. Between 
the acts some amusing curiosities will be introduced." 

There were in 1798 two theatres in Calcutta, one 
called the "Calcutta Theatre," and the other the "Wheler 
Place Theatre." The performances at both seem to have 
been of a mediocre description, if we may judge from the 
weekly advertisements which appear in the papers. For 
instances, the "Calcutta" advertises — "The Vintner in the 
Suds," and "The Prize," as the pieces to be performed on 
the 9th January ; and the "Wheler Place" opposition shop 
announces — "The Irishman in London," and the musical 
entertainment of "The Agreeable Surprize," for perform- 
ance on the 22nd of the same month. 

The Chowringhee Theatre, which succeeded the old 
Theatre near the W^riters' Buildings, was built in 1814, on 
the Chowringhee Road, at the corner of the road that 



thenceforth received the name of Theatre Street. The cost 
of erection was defrayed by a number of gentlemen taking 
shares, the Governor-General making a Hberal donation to 
assist the object. This continued in full operation till 
1839 or 1840, when it was burned down. 

A theatre was opened at No. 18, Circular Road on the 
30th March. 1812, under the name of "The Athenaeum," 
the performances that evening being the tragedy of the 
"Earl of Essex" and the farce of "Raising the Wind." Price 
of tickets, one gold mohur each. 

A Chowringhee Dramatic Society was formed in 1814, 
and its first annual meeting [was] held at Calcutta on the 
6th July, 1815. 

A theatrical performance was got up at Kidderpore on 
the 28th August, 1815, when the farce of "the Lying Valet" 
was performed. 

Chandernagore also boasted of a theatre where many 
of the Calcutta residents used to resort. We have not been 
able to ascertain when it was built. It must have been be- 
fore 1808, for in that year we find the follo\\ing ludicrous 
incident which occurred there on the 4th April, 1808 : — 

"After the representation of the farce of L'Afocat 
Patelin, in which a French village judge sits on the trial of 
a shepherd, accused by his master of having killed several 
sheep of a capital breed, with the wool of which he, the 
master, used to have his superfine English cloth made — the 
audience had withdrawn, when something valuable about 
the theatre was discovered to be missing. The suspicion 
of having stolen it fell upon a native workman that had 
been seen lurking behind the scenes. He was seized by one 
of the managers, and carried to the theatre before the judge 
who had not yet unrobed, and who immediately resumed 
his seat. An interpreter was sworn ; and the prisoner, 
surrounded by bailiffs in their proper dresses, was with the 
utmost gravity questioned on the circumstances of the fact 
alleged against him. The novelty of the appearance had 
such an effect on the black offender, that he fell prostrate 
at the feet of the judge, confessed the theft, and pointed 
out the place where he had concealed it. and where it was 
actually found. After a severe reprimand, he was released 


on his solemn promise to be honest in future, a promise 
which from his fears he is Hkely to keep at least within the 
precincts of the theatre." 

The Dum Dum Theatre was commenced before 1817. 
The first actor that gave it a prominence, and brought it 
before the public, was a bombardier of the name of Charles 
Franckling, of the 2nd Battery of Artillery. He ^vas a son 
of a chemist and druggist of the city of Bath, who early 
turned his attention to Thesipian fame ; and when only 16 
years of age, joined himself to a party of strolling players, 
then in the vicinity of Bath, with whom he continued for 
eighteen months, when finding his expectation of wealth 
vanish, he enlisted in the Company's service and arrived in 
Bengal in 1817. Being stationed at Dum-Dum, he at once 
joined the Thespian band of the Dum-Dum Theatre, and 
by his versatile talents, which were ably seconded by his 
officers and others, he was soon enabled to raise the charac- 
ter of the performances to the highest standard. On the 
25th August, 1824, Mr. Franckling passed away from this 


In 1824 the Calcutta Theatre seems to have been closed, 
as the fact is referred to in an obituary notice of Mrs. Gott- 
lieb, who had been an actress on the Chowringhee boards 
during the pre^'ious two years. 

The Dum-Dum Theatre is announced as about to be 
reopened in No\ ember 1826, after considerable alterations 
and improvements. This institution was long a place of 
attraction for lovers of the drama, and in later times Mrs. 
Leach graced its boards. 

We see an advertisement on the 14th May, 1827, of the 
"Theatre Boitaconnah," announcing that the performance 
of "The Young Widow, or a Lesson for Lovers," and the 
. farce of "My Landladv's Gown," was to take place on the 
24th for the benefit of Mrs. Bland. The hour for the com- 
mencement of the performance ^vas half past seven, which 
would be considered an inconveniently early hour in these 


A faint description of the theatre that existed in 1840. 
(this could not have been the Calcutta Theatre) mav be 
gathered from the following in one of the Hon. Miss Eden's 


"Letters from India : " — "We went last night to the play, 
which we had bespoken. No punkhas and a long low room 
with few windo\S'S ; it is impossible to say what the heat 
was, but the acting was really excellent ; I never saw better. 
We stayed only for one farce — "Na\al Engagements" — and 
notwithstanding the heat laughed all the time. There is a 
nephew of Joseph Hume's, a lawyer, ^vho acts very well, 
and Stocqueler. the editor of one of the papers, is quite as 
good as Farren." 

In the Mofussil theatricals were usually got 
up by the officers and men of the regiments 
quartered at the various stations, as is the case 
up to the present day. Of the state of the 
drama at one of these stations, Cawnpore. which was 
considered a first rate military cantonment, we find 
the following notice in the beginning of 1825 : — 

"The corps drama tique was composed of men of the — 
Dragoons, some of ^vhom ^vere by no means devoid of 
ability ; but the most strenuous exertions of the more able 
amongst them could not counterbalance the shock which 
the feelings received in contemplating the awkward giants 
with splav feet, gruff voices, and black beards, copiously 
po^vdered '^vith Hour, ^vho were wont to personate ladies and 
Leonoras. Here nothing was left for the imagination to 
work upon — the abominable realitv forced itself most 
cruellv upon the most indulgent of critics and the least 
fastidious of spectators. But a new theatrical era was dawn- 
ing at Ca^vnpore. A public-spirited individual, by the 
irresistible argument of an excellent tiffin, convinced a 
dozen admirers of the historic art of the propriety of meet- 
ing at his house to cast an amateur plav. Everything no^v 
^vent on swimmingly. Plav succeeded play. The amateurs 
formed themselves into a club denominated the "Strollers." 
and numerous were the merrv reunions after rehearsals, 
and at the club dinners which were held once a month. 
The surviving members may perhaps occasionally look back 
to the cold season of 1825-26 at Cawnpore. and dwell with 
satisfaction upon the recollection of the mirth and good 
felloAvship -^vhich distinguished the meetings of the "Strol- 
lers" in the ante-room of the assembly house, where a tem- 


poraiy stage was erected, after the destruction by fire of the 
old building." 


Racing was ahvays popular in old Calcutta. There 
existed a race course at the end of Garden Reach, on what 
was afterwards the Akra farm. There was another course, 
howe\"er, on the maidan. The present race coiu'se was 
laid out in 1819. 

We do not know the precise date at which 
the first regular race-meeting came off at Calcutta, 
or at the other presidencies. Mr. Stocqueler in 
his Handbook says — "The first record of the existence 
of racing in Calcutta, may be dated from the 
origin of the Bengal Jockey Club, in 1803" — but we 
find in the volume of Hicky's Gazette for 1780 accounts 
both of races and of race balls. 

The following notice of the Calcutta races appears in 
a paper of the 2nd January, 1794, in an advertisement : — 
"The stewards present their compliments to the subscribers 
to the races, and take this opportunity to inform them, that 
a breakfast, with music. See. will be provided in tents, on 
the course after the races, on Monday, Tuesday, and 
AV^ednesday, the 16th, 17th and 18th January, and a ball 
and supper at the Theatre on Wednesday, the 18th, where 
they hope for the honor of their company," &:c. The races 
run for were (1) for the Plate ; (2) the Hunters' Plate ; (3) 
the Lady's Plate. The running was by ponies generally, 
and only two ponies appear to have run in each race. At 
the close of each day's running, or as it is stated "after the 
race each morning." from which it would appear there was 
only one race each day. a public breakfast was given in the 
tents, ^vhere a company of upwards of a hundred and fifty 
sat down. "After breakfast, the company adjourned to an 
adjoining tent of very capacious demensions. handsomely 
fitted up, and boarded for the purpose of dancing. Country 
dances commenced in two sets, and were kept up with the 
utmost gaiety till tivo in the afternoon." How different to 
present usages. 

We hR\c no information as to the length of the Calcutta 
race course in those days, but if it was the same as at pre- 



sent, the running must have been very severe, judging from 
the programme of the races for 1795 : — 

First day, November 25. — A plate of 50 gold mohurs. 
free for all horses, mares, See, the best of three heats, twice 
round to a heat, carrying 9st. 7 lbs. each. 

Second day, November 26. — A plate of 50 gold mohurs, 
free for all horses, mares, &c., that never won plate or sweep- 
stakes, the best of three heats, twice round to a heat, carry- 
ing 9st. 7 lbs. each. 

Third day, November 27. — Similar to the above, but 
weight 12 stone. 

Same day — A plate of 50 gold mohurs. free for all 
ponies, 121 hands high, that never won plate or sweepstakes, 
the best of three heats, twice round to a heat, carrying 9 
stone each. 

After this, racing began to be more generally indulged 
in. At Calcutta instead of two or three races altogether 
being run, at the winter meeting, we find in 1797 two or 
three run, on each day for three days. At Benares too. a 
very strong race-meetmg was got up, and races were run 
almost daily from the 9th of December to Christmas dav, 
one race on each occasion. 

A few years later they appear to have fallen into desue- 
tude in Calcutta, though carried on with great zest at 
Madras. How soon the custom was revived we do not 
know : but we find Lord Valentia stating early in the pre- 
sent century, that, "on Lord Wellesley's arrival in the 
country, he set his face decidedly against horse racing and 
every other species of gambling ; yet at the end of No\ - 
ember 1809, there were three days' races at a small distance 
from Calcutta. Lord Wellesley's influence, however, threw 
a damper on racing for many years. 

After a lull the Calcutta Races again commenced under 
the patronage of Lord Moira. The first day's racing was 
held on the 4th March, 1816, when there were two races. 
On the second day there were also two races only. On tlie 
25th March there were two more races. They were run in 
the morning after the fogs had dispersed ; and as this 
takes place at a rather late hour, it must have been hot work 
for both the spectators and horses. 


In India the necessity of avoiding exposure to the mid- 
day Sim requires that the races take place early in the morn- 
ing, commencing generally before sunrise. Those who in 
India are in the habit (and who is not ?) of witnessing that 
most exciting of all public amusements, are soon initiated 
into the sudden and disagreeable alternation from cold to 
heat which occurs on these occasions. "On arriving at the 
race-stand, where the floor is covered with straw and a car- 
pet, you may incase yourself in upper Benjamins and cloaks 
innumerable, and still fail to guard against the bitter cold 
of the morning ; but in three or four short hours, when the 
sport has terminated, the heat, glare and dust become al- 
most insufferable, and you hasten home to divest yourself 
of all but an under-garment." 

In 1818 the races began to be run in the evening 
instead of the morning, as had been the practice hitherto. 
There were races also regularly held at Barrackpore. They 
commenced as early as 1816. 

The Cawnpore race-meeting of February 1825, was the 
most remarkable in its annals. It continued for alternate 
days during three Aveeks. Some of the most noted Arabs 
on the Indian turf here measured their powers. The race 
funds were ample, and held out such inducements that 
■crack horses Avere allured from distances which would put 
to shame the most travelled of English racers. Nor was 
there any lack of hack races on each day of the meeting, 
which were chiefly concocted at the ordinaries held on the 
night preceding each day's running. 

Boat Races 

We have a notice of the first boat races in Calcutta, 
which took place on the 25th July 1813. Seven sailing boats 
ran on this occasion. The novel exhibition afforded con- 
siderable amusement to the spectators. 

Sailing matches having been inaugurated in Calcutta, 
the sport began to the duly appreciated. Other matches 
came off on the 4th June, 1814, and on this occasion, there 
were several rowing matches. In these, boats of various 
descriptions competed — boliahs, dingies, gigs, 8cc. some pro- 
pelled by oars, and others by paddles. 

The races fell into desuetude till about 1836, when 


they were revived, but they ha\e ne\'er held a high place 
among the sporting community of Calcutta, owing to the 
cro^vded state of the river. 


On the 18th and 19th January, 1804, was played a 
grand match of cricket between the Etonians, Civil servants 
of the Company, and all other servants of the Coinpany re- 
sident in Calcutta, ^vhich was won by the former in one 
innings by 152 runs. The Etonians scored 232, while their 
antagonists in their double innings only scored 80 runs. 
This is the first notice that we have seen of this healthful 
game being played at Calcutta. 

Cricket at the present day holds a high place, and 
several excellent teams exist in Calcutta, and have done so 
for many years. 


Balloon ascents must have been a novelty indeed in 
India, when prominent notice is given in the editorial 
columns of the Gazette, of the inflation and ascent of such 
playthings as those alluded to in the following account : — 
"Last Friday night (30th July, 1785,) between the hours of 
9 and 10. a balloon, measuring six feet in diameter, and 
filled Avith rarefied air. was let off from the Esplanade. It 
mounted very gradually until it had risen about a quarter 
of a mile, when it ascended with great rapidity, shot to- 
^vards the west, and got out of sight in about a quarter of 
an hour from the time of its departure from the earth. Mr. 
AVintle, the young gentleman who constructed the balloon, 
^vill favour the settlement Avith another exhibition to-mor- 
row evening. This balloon, which measures eight feet in 
diameter, will be let off from the Esplanade at 8 o'clock in 
the evening, if the weather will permit ; but, should it 
prove unfavourable, the exhibition will be deferred till 
Monday evening at the same hour." 

The first ascent of a large balloon from the plains of 
Bengal took place on the 21st March, 1836. Mons. Robert- 
son, the aeronaut, a Frenchman, who had made sixteen pre- 
vious ascents in various parts of Europe, came expressly to 
India for the purpose of astonishing the Indians with the 
novel tamasha of a human being wafted out of sight into 


ethereal space in his fairy car. Such competition is said 
to have prevailed at Paris for the glory of being the first to 
make the experiment in India, that M. Robertson was fain 
to hurry hither before the balloon itself was ready. The 
ascent took place at the further end of Garden Reach. The 
balloon rose well, but ere it attained a mile of height, it 
was seen to return so rapidly earthward, that great appre- 
hensions were entertained for the traveller's neck. The re- 
sistance of the air below, however, pressed up the slack of 
the balloon like an umbrella. The car was thus supported 
in its descent as by a parachute, and M. Robertson escaped 
with only a heavy fall. A second ascent was not made in 
Calcutta, the aeronaut proceeding to Lucknow to make an 
ascent there. But his early death prevented further ascents. 
Since then some attempts have been made by a Mr. Kite^ 
but they were failures and ended in the death of the aero- 
naut in one of his ascents in Burmah. 

Garden Excursions 

The Botanical Gardens, three miles distant from Cal- 
cutta, are situated on the left bank of the Hooghly. They 
are undoubtedly the richest and most beautiful gardens in 
the world ; besides a variety of European flowers and shrubs, 
all the trees and plants of India, nay, we may say of all 
Asia, and Southern Africa and the Straits, are cultivated 
here. The garden was begun by Colonel Kyd in March 
1786, and collections of plants from different parts of the 
East were soon introduced into it with such success, that 
the number of plants brought into it in eight years 
amounted to more than 300. Dr. Roxburgh joined it in 
the autumn of 1798. His unremitted attention to its 
improvement and his eminent abilities as a botanist, soon 
increased the stock of trees and plants, so that in 1831 the 
number of described species in the garden amounted to 

From the report of a meeting of the Agiicultural and 
Horticultural Society held in Calcutta on the 14th May, 
1827, we learn that a piece of ground at Allypore (Mr. 
Palmer's garden) was taken on a perpetual lease for a nur- 
sery and garden. 

The object contemplated was not only to bring to the 


highest perfection all the fruits and vegetables of Europe 
and India, but also to raise tea and coffee, and all the medi- 
cinal plants, as well as the most useful kinds of trees, in 
order to supply the gardens of India and Europe. This 
garden is not only a source of unceasing delight, but also 
of incalculable benefit to the inhabitants of Calcutta, who 
constantly resort thither as a retreat in hot weather, and to 
hold pleasurable parties therein. 

The garden which is very extensive, is laid out with 
much taste. It combines the attraction of a Botanic Gar- 
den with that of a Park, and is therefore the great lounge 
of the citizens of Calcutta. The magnificent banyan trees 
which adorn it are the scene of many a merry picnic party 
on the numerous holidays which the Hindoo calendar bes- 
tows on the community of the Presidency. One of these, 
the largest is about a century old, and covers a space of 
ground 800 feet in circumference. Its trunk girths 5 feet. 
The garden possesses a noble botanical library which has 
been enriched, from time to time, by the liberality of 
Government, and the donations of botanists in Europe and 
America. 7 he annals of the garden embrace the successive 
labors of Dr. Roxburgh, Dr. Buchanan, Dr. Wallich, and 
last, but not least, of the genius and thoroughly accom- 
plished botanist, William Griffith, whose premature death, 
at the age of thirty-four, was a source of deep lamentation 
to the scientific world. A noble monument to the memory 
of the founder, who died in 1793, stands in a conspicuous 
part of the garden. Monuments have also been erected in 
the garden to commemorate the services of Drs. Roxburgh 
and Jack. 

Opposite Baboo's Ghaut, and immediately south of the 
Esplanade Road, are the Eden Gardens, for which the in- 
habitants are indebted to the liberality and taste of the 
Misses Eden, sisters of Lord Auckland, Governor-General of 
India. Here is the Band-stand, where the Town Band, or 
the Band of the European Regiment stationed in the Fort, 
discourses sweet music every evening. Of late years the 
Gardens have been greatly enlarged, and laid out with 
winding paths and artificial water, interpersed with 
a profusion of beautiful flowering trees, and shrubs 



—a pleasant place for a morning or evening stroll. 

In the Gardens is a Burmese Pagoda, removed from 

Prome after the last war in 1854, and re-erected here in 1856. 



Establishment of Courts 

A COURT, consisting of a mayor and aldermen was 
established in 1727, and administered British law to British 
subjects in a house built by Mr. Bourchier soon after the 
charter arrived, which was then called the Court House, 
and the remembrance of which still survives in the street, 
■which after the lapse of more than a hundred an fifty years, 
is yet called Old Course House street. 

From the decision of the mayor and aldermen, an ap- 
peal lay to the President in Council, and the two bodies 
were thus kept in a state of constant activity and collision. 
The municipal, fiscal, civil and criminal affairs of the town, 
as far as the natives were concerned, were administered by 
a civilian, who was styled the Zemindar. He farmed out 
the monopolies ; he collected the rents ; and he decided 
all civil and criminal suits. In all actions for property an 
appeal lay from his award to the President. In capital 
cases, in which "the lash was inflicted till death," the con- 
firmation of the sentence by the President was necessary. 
In all other cases, the investigation of the Zemindar was 
summary and his decision final. He had the power of fin- 
ing, flogging and imprisoning. He was judge, magistrate 
and collector ; and he was consequently the most import- 
ant personage in the rising town. This office was always 
changed once, and sometimes thrice, in twelve months. He 
-^vas never allowed to remain long enough in office to acquire 
anv knowledge or experience of his duties. He was in 
almost every instance a total stranger to the native language ; 
and to complete his helplessness, all the accounts were kept 
exclusively in the vernacular. His salary was 2,000 rupees 
a vear with a percentage on the farms, Avhich may have 
gi\en him half as much more. He was always involved 
in trade, from which he drew an income of ten times the 


value of his salary. Such was the municipal government 
of the town of Calcutta in 1745. 

The East India Company was originally simply a com- 
pany of merchants, empowered by a charter granted by 
Queen Elizabeth, in the year 1600, to trade to the East 

In 1661 they obtained authority from parliament to 
judge, according to the laws of England, all persons living 
under them in their settlements. By two subsequent char- 
ters, respectively granted in 1683 and 1686, the company 
was authorized to erect courts of justice for the trial of 
offences, committed both by sea and land, according to the 
English law, and the courts thereupon established, conti- 
nued to exercise the powers assigned to them till the year 
1765, when they were superseded by courts established 
under the Nazim of Bengal, which were superintended, 
though very imperfectly, by the English heads of factories. 

Further legislative powers were conferred by the char- 
ter of 1773. This charter declared the Governor-General in 
Council competent to make rules and regulations for the 
good order and civil government of the settlement of Fort 
William ; and the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court extend- 
ed to all persons within the town of Calcutta, as well as to 
British subjects resident in any part of Bengal, Behar and 

The Supreme Court, which was instituted in 1774, "to 
protect Indians from oppression, and to give India the bene- 
fits of English law," is described by Mackintosh (writing in 
1775) in the following trenchant style : — "The present mode 
of administering justice, under the sanction of a British Act 
of Parliament, in Bengal, is a subject which calls loudly for 
public attention and speedy relief. 

This dreadful evil threatens the extinction of 
the British power and property in India. Corrup- 
tion hath usurped the sacred seat of justice, and, 
shielded by the power of a venial government, hath 
held quiet possession of this station for six lingering 
years, without even the veil of hypocrisy to shade the 
horrors of oppression and savage violence." 

The establishment of the Supreme Court in Calcutta 


introduced lawyers into the metropolis, to the great loss and 
sorrow of the natives. 

"Asiaticus" writes thus in 1774 of the lawyers : — "The 
numerous departments, which have arrived in the train of 
the Judges, and of the new Commander-in-Chief of the forces, 
will of course be appointed to all the posts of any emolu- 
ment, and I must do those gentlemen the justice to observe, 
that, both in number and capacity they exactly resemble an 
army of locusts sent to devour the fruits of the earth." 
Hartley House mentions — "No wonder lawyers return from 
this country rolling in wealth. Their fees are enormous ; 
if you ask a single question on any affair you pay down 
your gold-mohur, and if he writes a letter of only three 
lines, twenty-eight rupees ! I tremble at the idea of com- 
ing into their hands ; for what must be the recoveries, to 
answer such immense charges ! You must, however, be in- 
formed that the number of acting attornies on the court 
roll is restricted to twelve, who serve an articled clerkship 
of three years only, instead of five, as in England. The fee 
for making a will is in proportion to its length, from five 
goldmohurs upwards ; and as to marriage articles I should 
imagine they would half ruin a man, and a process at law 
be the destruction of both parties. A man of abilities and 
good address in this line, if he has the firmness to resist the 
fashionable contagion, gambling, need only pass one seven 
years of his life at Calcutta, to return home in affluent cir- 
cumstances ; but the very nature of their profession leads 
them into gay connections, and, having for a time complied 
with the humor of their company, from prudential motives, 
they become tainted and prosecute their bane from the 
impulses of inclination." 

On the 15th July, 1797, in the House of Lords, the 
order of the day for the second reading of the India Judi- 
cature bill having been moved and read. Mr. Rous was 
heard on the part of the East India Company against it. 
Mr. Rous stated "that the Company considered the present 
bill as a violation of the solemn compact entered into bet- 
ween the public and the Company on the renewal of the 
charter in 1793. That the extension of the courts of judi- 
cature was a departure from the statute of 1797 ; but that 


what most of all alarmed the Company was the institution 
of a Pension List for the judges, the pension to be granted 
by the Crown, though payable out of the Company's reve- 
nues, and at the end of a duration in India at so short a 
time as five years, if the servants of the Crown thought fit 
to grant them. Mr. Rous stated the period of the institu- 
tion and existence of the Supreme Court of Judicature ; 
and said, though the reason for limiting the judges to three 
could not be known to him, yet as it happened in conse- 
quence of the death of Sir William Jones, that only three 
judges had sat for the space of fifteen years together, there 
could be no objection to having only three judges on the 
bench of the Supreme Court ; but the objection the East 
India Company felt was to the appropriation of the salary 
of the fourth judge to the payment of the pensions in ques- 
tion. He pointed out the manifest difference between the 
establshment of the judges in India and their establish- 
ments in England. 

A puisne judge in India had a salary of £6,000 a year, 
which was three times as much as all the emoluments of a 
puisne judge in Westminister Hall ; and the supreme judge 
in India had a salary of £8,000 a vear. It had been gene- 
rally conceived, as for the sake of decorum, a judge should 
in some sort live a retired life, that the income of judges 
in India would, after a due time spent in the exercise and 
discharge of their duties in that country, not only be suffi- 
cient to enable them to return home with a moderate in- 
come, but fully competent to their comfort and support for 
the remainder of their lives. If, however, their Lordships 
should think it right to allow the clause to stand, as far as 
regarded pensions, the Company earnestly prayed it might 
be altered ; and instead of the grant of these pensions be- 
ing at the will of the King's servants, that it might depend 
upon the address of either House of Parliament, which they 
conceived would secure them from the possibility of abuse." 
The measure was severelv comnrented on at adjourned 
meetings of the India House, held on the 22nd and 28th 
June and 12th Julv. and in the Commons on 27th June. 

The Calcutta Court of Requests was instituted in Cal- 
cutta on the 13th March, 1802. The jurisdiction of this 


court was limited to claims up to 100 rupees. In case the 
debtor ^vas unable to pay the amount claimed, his goods 
were to be sold, and if the assets therefrom were not suffi- 
cient to meet the claim, the debtor was to be apprehended 
and conveyed to "goal, there to remain until he or she shall 
perform such order or decree." 

The Supreme Court at Madras received its charter as 
a new court of judicature on the 4th September, 1801. 


From a Gazette of the 18th August, 1791, we learn that 
the sessions had just ended, and "that several culprits re- 
ceived sentence — upwards of fourteen were burnt in the 
hand and imprisoned, several were sentenced to stand in the 
pillory, and the rest acquitted." Also that "the Portuguese 
who was convicted of stealing a valuable diamond ring from 
the shop of Tulloh and Co., was sentenced to be burnt in 
the hand, to be imprisoned for the term of one month, and 
then discharged, on finding sufficient security that he will 
quit the provinces." 

On the 1st August. 1795. at the general gaol delivery 
in Calcutta, sentence of death was passed on six criminals 
convicted of burglary ! Three men, who had been privates 
of the 3rd European Battalion, were burned in the hand, 
and sentenced to be imprisoned with hard labor in the 
House of Correction for two vears. having been convicted of 
highway robbery, committed on the Esplanade. "Thomas 
Forresty, convicted of a misdemeanor, ^vas sentenced to be 
privately whipped in the goal of Calcutta, and confined one 
month. Lochurn, for stealing half a mohur and some sil- 
ver ornaments, to be publicly whipped in the Burra Bazar, 
and kept to hard labor in the House of Correction for three 
months. Connoy Day, for privately stealing a mohur from 
the Bank of Hindostan, was sentenced to be confined in 
prison until the 10th instant, when he is to be conveyed to 
the south end of the Burra Bazer, and whipped to the north 
end, and from thence back again ; and then to be carried 
to the House of Correction, there to be confined and kept to 
hard labor, until the 1st of July, 1796." Those in the 
seat of justice seems to have been humorous in their judg- 


At the Supreme Court, Calcutta, on the 10th Decem- 
ber, 1802. the following sentences were passed: — Joseph 
Mari Leperrousse, for murder and piracy — death, and that 
his body should be afterwards hung in chains. Byjoo 
Mussalchy, robbery, — death ! Pauly Stratty, Anunderam, 
and Catoul Kissen. for conspiracy, two years' imprisonment 
and to stand in the pillory. Ramsoonder Sircar, for per- 
jury, to be transported for seven years ! Ter Jacob Ter 
Petruse, an American clergyman, for perjury, imprisonment 
for two years, and a fine of one rupee, Imaum box Golyah, 
for robbery, transportation for life. Thomas Norman Mor- 
gan for forgery, two years' imprisonment, to stand in the 
pillory and pay a fine of one rupee. Choochill, Buxoo, 
Russie and Nyamutullah, for robbery, transportation for 
seven years. The Chief Justice in passing sentence on 
Morgan for forgery, observed, "it was fortunate for the 
prisoner that the law which makes that crime capital, had 
not yet been extended to this country ; but he had reason 
to believe that ere long it would." 

On the 15th June, 1893, at the sessions of Oyer and 
Terminer at the Calcutta Supreme Court, "Thomas Shoul- 
dham, who had been convicted of uttering a treasury pass, 
knowing it to be forged, was then put to the bar to receive his 
sentence, which was that he should stand once in the pillory, 
be imprisoned for the term of two years in the gaol of 
Calcutta, pay a fine to the king of five thousand sicca rupees, 
and be imprisoned until such fine be paid." 

On the 13th June, 1840, an Indian woman was senten- 
ced by the Supreme Court of Calcutta to "stand in the pil- 
lory, with a statement of her crime in the English and 
Indian languages, and afterwards to be transported to Prince 
of Wales' Island for seven years." 

What will our readers think of the following senten- 
ces delivered in the Supreme Court of Calcutta on the 4th 
November, 1804: — "John Maclauchlin, found guilty of 
man-slaughter, to be fined one rupee, and imprisoned 
one month. Mahomed Tindal found guilty of man-slaugh- 
ter, to be fined one rupee, and imprisoned one month. 
Mathew Fames, found guilty of man-slaughter, to be fined 
one rupee, and imprisoned one month. Thomas Eldred 


Sherburne, for forgery, fined one rupee, to stand in the pil- 
lory on the 14th instant, and imprisoned two years. Radeca, 
otherwise Jesse, for stealing on the high seas, to be trans- 
ported for seven years, and kept to hard labor during that 
period. Mritonjoy Coomar, for robbing the mint, ditto, 
ditto." Verily the crimes of forgery and theft were con- 
sidered by the legislators of those days more heinous than 
that of man-slaughter. 

On the 17th October, 1805, Henry Irwin, Paymaster of 
the 26th Foot, was put on his trial in the Bombay Court 
for the murder of Lieutenant John Young of the same regi- 
ment, in a duel which took place at Dohud on the frontiers 
of Guzerat on the 27th March. As there were many allevi- 
ating circumstances in the case, and it was proved that the 
wound in the leg had not been a mortal one, and that death 
ensured from the deceased's own act in removing the 
tourniquet and the consequent effusion of blood, the jury 
acquitted the accused. 

On the 4th December. 1806, Alex, Moore and James 
Dempsey, two soldiers, were tried in the Supreme Court, 
the former for the murder of Owen Mclnnes in a duel 
with muskets at Muthra in June ; and the latter, for the 
murder of Charles Crouly (by boxing) at Allahabad — they 
were both convicted of man-slaughter. Lieutenant Ryan 
was tried for the murder of Lieutenant Corry in a duel at 
Cawnpore, and also convicted of manslaughter. James 
Champbell was tried for maiming an Indian woman at Chu- 
nar found guilty and sentenced to death. In the above cases 
Moore was sentenced to one year's imprisonment and a fine 
of 20 rupees ; Dempsey to one week's imprisonment and 
fine of one rupee ; Ryan, a fine of Rs. 100 and imprison- 
ment for six months. A Portuguese man and an Indian 
were also convicted of man-slaughter and sentenced to be 
burnt in the hand, imprisonment for one year and a fine. 

A case was tried in the Calcutta Supreme Court on the 
10th June, 1807, of forgery of a treasury bill for Rs. 2,500 
by two Indians of the name of Calleypershad Chatterjee 
and Ramconnoy Ghose. This appears to have been the first 
instance where natives had tried their hands at forming 
types or plates whence to print bills, kc, similar to those 


issued by banks or treasuries. Hitherto they had been \ery 
skilful in altering figures on existing papers, but this \sas 
the attempt at printing wholesale, and it was done in such 
an incomplete and awkward way, that it was at once detect- 
ed. The accused were sentenced to "two years' imprinson- 
ment in the house of correction and to stand once in the 

"Burning in the hand" seems to have been a very com- 
mon and the usual sentence passed in the Supreme Court 
of Calcutta in 1812. 

It Avas a custom in some cases also, when a man ^vas. 
sentenced to death, to appeal to "His Majesty in Council" 
as to whether the sentence should not be commuted. This 
practice subjected the culprits to close imprisonment in the 
condemned cells for a period of almost twelve months be- 
fore a reply could be obtained. In one case where the 
judge passed sentence of imprisonment on two European 
prisoners, named Moore and Knox, for man-slaughter, he 
concluded by ordering that during their imprisonment "the 
gaoler ^vill use such vigilance that they Jo not communicate 
disgrace to the gaol." 

At the Supreme Court in Calcutta, on the 22nd June. 
1812. the following sentences were passed : — (1) Ensign 
Soadv, convicted of man-slaughter, a fine of 200 rupees, and 
imprisonment for one year. (2) Bindabun Dobee, man- 
slaughter, to be burned in the hand, and imprisonment for 
one year. (3) Joseph Moore, and George Knox, man- 
slaughter, to be burned in the hand, and imprisonment for 
one year. (4) Andrew Masberg, for an assault with intent 
to commit murder, to be imprisoned for three years. (5) 
William Soubise, for an attempt to set fire to a bunglow, to 
be imprisoned for two vears. 

On the 2nd November. 1813, the following sentences 
were passed : — Privates Barry and Boyle of the 84th Foot, 
found guilty of highway robbery received sentence of death: 
Rodrigues, found guilty of forging pay abstracts, was sen- 
tenced to stand in the pillory, two yeras' imprisonment and 
a fine of 300 pagodas. 

A bill for abolishing the punishment of the pillory \\'a> 
passed in July 1816. 


On the 21st April, 1828, Fukrun Nissa Begum was 
brought up in the Supreme Court at Calcutta, on a charge 
of ha\ ing caused the death of a slave woman in her service, 
by beating her with billets of fire-wood ; three of her ser- 
vants also assisting in the deed. The case was proved, and 
the prisoners were sentenced to be "imprisoned until twelve 
o'clock tomorrow, and then to be discharged." Against this 
lenient sentence the Begum petitioned. The petition re- 
presented that she viewed with such horror the disgrace of a 
public exposure in a court of justice, which was to her 
much worse than any punishment the court could inflict 
on her, that rather than submit to it she pleaded guilty, in 
the hope that no judgment Avould be passed upon her, but 
that the case might be sent home to His Majesty, to whom 
she would sue for a pardon. After hearing this petition, 
the Chief Justice said "as the law now stands, we think it 
proper that the judgment should be respited until the re- 
sult is ascertained of the appeal to the King in Council, 
upon the Begum giving security to the court to appear, if 
required, on the second day of the second session, in the 
year 1829, to receive judgment." 


It was customary in those days to have executions in 
spots where four roads crossed, probably with a view to 
make the event more impressi\'e. For instance, in a trial 
of a Manilla man for stabbing an Indian ^voman, tried in the 
Supreme Court on the 10th June, 1807, the prisoner was 
ordered "to be executed on Saturday, the 13th, at the four 
roads which meet at the head of Lall Bazar Street." 

A novel scene was presented on the Hooghly off Cal- 
cutta on the 13th December, 1813, when five Portuguese 
were hanged for the "\s'ilful murder of Captain Stewart of 
the Asia. In order to render the benefits of such an 
example as extensive and salutary as possible among men 
of similar habits and modes of life, it ^vas determined to 
rig up a gallows on the river. A platform ^vas laid on two 
bhurs lashed together, on which the men were conveyed 
to the anchor boat on which the gallows was erected. The 
ships in the river ^vere requested to send each a boat to 
attend the execution. 


"At an early hour," says the Times, "the preparative 
gun was fired, and the yellow flag was hoisted — the boats 
assembled in great numbers and the side of the river, as 
well as the decks of the neighbouring ships and the tops 
of the adjoining houses were covered with spectators. A 
little before 9 o'clock the criminals arrived from the gaol 
under a guard of sepoys at the Old Fort Ghat, and were 
warped off on the platform to the anchor boat. There the 
yards had been braced up different ways so as to separate 
the yard arms stifficiently ; and as soon as the final prepa- 
rations were finished, the gun was fired about 20 minutes 
after 9, and the malefactors were run up at the same 

On the 24th January, 1828 was executed a Fakeer who 
had murdered a child, named William Beauchamp at 
Howrah Ghaut, on the 24th of the previous July. The gallows 
was erected in the open space, called the "school ground." 
Several thousands of Indian assembled to see this novel pro- 
ceeding, but they made no attempt at rescuing the man 
from the hands of justice. The body was ordered to be 
gibbeted, and the iron cage to contain it was brought to 
the ground in a cart, which followed the criminal to the 

The following description of an execution by hanging, 
we obtain from Lang's "Wanderings," and it represents the 
usual mode of carrying out these executions : — "When we 
had arrived at the place of execution, a field at some dis- 
tance from the jail, in which had been erected a tempo- 
rary gallows, I was surprised at not finding a mob. There 
was no one there but the culprit — who was eating as much 
rice as he could and as fast as he could — a couple of Indian 
policemen with drawn swords guarding him ; the jailor, who 
was a Mahomedan, and a Bengalee writer, (clerk) who stood 
with pen, ink and paper in hand, ready to dot down the 
official particulars of the scene, preparatory to their being 
forwarded to Government according to a certain regula- 
tion. "Is every thing ready ?" said the assistant magistrate 
to the jailor. "Yes, sahib," he replied ; "but he has not 
yet finished his breakfast." "In one minute, sahib," cried 
the culprit, who overheard the conversion ; and hastily tak- 


ing into his stomach the few grains of rice that remained 
upon the dish, and drinking the remainder of his half gal- 
lon of milk, he sprang up and called out "tyear ! " signify- 
ing "I am ready." He was then led up to the scaffold, the 
most primitive affair that I ever beheld. It ^vas only a 
piece of wood-work resembling a large crock or crate in 
which a dinner service is packed for exportation. Upon 
this crock, which was placed under the beam, he was re- 
quested to stand. Having obeyed this order, the rope was 
adjusted round his neck. The assistant magistrate then 
called out to him in Hindustance — "Have you any thing 
to say." "Yes, sahib," was the reply. And he began a long 
story, false from beginning to end, but every word of 
which the Bengalee writer took down. He spoke, and with 
vehemence, for about thirty-five minutes when, having 
stopped, either finally, or to take breath, the assistant 
magistrate gave the signal to the jailor, by waving his hand. 
The crock was then pulled from under the culprit by the 
two policemen, and down dangled the culprit's body, the 
feet not more than eighteen inches from the ground." 

Difficulty of Obtaining Justice 

To show the enormous expense attending the simplest 
action in the Supreme Court, we may instance the case of 
Dr. Bryce against Mr. Samuel Smith of the Hurkaru news- 
paper for libel. It lasted two years, and the defendant was 
adjudged to pay as damages tight hundred rupees. The 
plaintiff incurred a cost of ten thousand rupees to carrv 
this through. Had the plaintiff been a comparatively poor 
man, he would have been ruined — he would have gone out 
of court triumphantly cleared in his character, to go into 
jail, perhaps for life, from inability to pay his attorney's 

"A native being desirous, not long since." says the Cal- 
cutta Gazette of the 17th August, 1708, "to institute a suit 
in a court of justice, applied to an attorney, who informed 
him he was already engaged on behalf of his opponent ; he. 
however, offered to recommend him to a friend, who would 
undertake his cause with equal readiness and ability, and 
gave him a note of recommendation to him. The cautious 
native carried the note to a person who could read English, 


and found it Lo contain the following admonition : — 'Dear 
I have killed tny hog, do yon kill yours.' Ihe hint 

was not lost, though the admonition missed its aim. The 
parties compromised their dispute, and the lawyers lost their 

Several instances can be mentioned where Calcutta 
Juries brought in "not guilty," when Europeans w^ere defen- 
dants in cases of murder or maltreatment of natives. On 
the 10th June, 1812, Macdonald, the mate of a vessel (the 
Hunter) was tried in the Calcutta Court for "causing the 
death of one of his crew by tying him up during the whole 
of a cold night on a voyage to Botany Bay." Though the 
evidence was very clear, the Jury returned a verdict of "not 
guilty" — on which the Chief Justice justly remarked, "The 
gentlemen of the jury must certainly have discovered some 
reason for doubting the testimony of the witnesses, which did 
not occur to the court ; and you therefore have escaped 
the punishment of man-slaughter w hich the court have not 
the smallest doubt but you deserve. I hope you will be 
advised to return to that humane and mild disposition 
which w^as your character six years ago. You may not pro- 
bably meet with another jury, who will deal so mercifully 
with you. The punishment was illegal, it was cruel, it was 


Early Newspapers and Journals 

We shall give a few statistics of the Press in India bet- 
ween the years 1780 and 1833 ; though the first newspaper 
A\as published in Calcutta anterior to 1774 ; it was called 
the Didia Gazette, an organ of the Government. 

On the 29th January, 1780, was commenced the Ben- 
gal Gazette, the proprietor of which was Mr. Hickey. 

On the 6th April, 1785, was published by Messrs. 
Gordon and Hay the first number of the Oriental Magazine 
or Calcutta Amusements, a monthly. 

On the 3rd October, 1791, the Calcutta Magazine and 
Oriental Museum saw the light. It was a monthly and 
published by Mr. White, at No. 51, Cossitollah street. 

In the India Gazette of the 19th April, 1792, we have 
a strange medley of nc^vs, showing what a disturbed state 
matters were at the close of the preceding year on the con- 
tinent of Europe, and in India at the beginning of the year 
under notice. In September there were in Paris commo- 
tions which preceded the revolution and the execution of 
Louis and the Bourbon family ; commotions in Flanders ; 
report of the trial on the Birmingham rioters in England ; 
Lord Cornwallis' despatches regarding the taking of Banga- 
lore and Seringapatam. and the signing of peace with 
Tipoo Sultan ; winding up with the declaration of war 
against Spain by the Emperor of Morocco. Notices of all 
these events are contained in a single issue, and yet the 
editor of the Gazette says, that the "English papers brought 
by the Prudentia contain very little worth relating." Verily 
those were piping times for the ne^vspapers. Neither 
telegraphs nor semaphores existed in those days, and on 
the arrival of a ship from England, there was a regular 
race by the representatives of the Fourth Estate to obtain 
the latest English newspapers. "Fast" row boats were then 


used, which proceeded to Kedgeree and even farther in 
order to board the incoming vessel, and thus be the first to 
obtain the latest intelligence. 

On the 1st of November, 1794, was published the first 
number of the Calcutta Monthly Journal, by J. White, 
printer, No. 2, ^Veston Lane, Cossitollah. This journal, it 
would appear, was established for the purpose of giving the 
whole of the Indian news of the month in as condensed a 
form as possible for transmission to England ; the printer 
in fact of the "overland summaries" which became so com- 
mon on the establishment of the overland route. 

The Bengal Hircarrah was ushered into existence on 
the 20th January, 1795, as a weekly paper, at the Oriental 
Star office. 

On the 4th of October, 1795, was published the first 
number of a weekly newspaper, under the title of the 
India?! Apollo. The paper to appear every Sunday, from 
the Mirror Press, No. 158. Chitpore Road, 

The Relator, a biweekly newspaper, is advertised to 
appear at Calcutta on the 4th April, 1799, and the follow- 
ing is the flourish w4th which the announcement of its 
appearance is heralded before the public : — 

"To THE Public. — It is an eventful period indeed, at 
which we solicit your patronage of a work, for the early and 
faithful communication of those events, which not only in- 
terest the feelings and occupy the attention of mankind, 
but astonish and terrify the world. When in the height of 
an universal war. Nature seems to have allotted her sea 
for the theatre of the gallant and unexampled victories of 
Britain ; and Fate resigned the land to the sanguinary and 
immesurable ra^'ages of France ; w^hen Anarchy has sup- 
planted Order ; and Reason fled the frenzy of Infidelity 
and as the Chamelion's — and the new principles of human 
actions short lived as the Ephemeron ; not only the 
materials for periodical publication abound, but the 
vehicles for disseminating them are naturally multi- 
plied. This has been the case in Calcutta ; yet 
we presume to offer another newspaper to your atten- 
tion, trusting it will possess equal merit with anv 
contemporarv print. As the professions of a stranger res- 


pecting himself and undertakings are both nugatory and 
fulsome, we decline making any ; and should an indulgent 
Public sanction oiu' attempt, we shall receive their appro- 
bation, ^vith purer satisfaction, than if we had endeavoured 
to obtain it by arts which only partially delude the simple 
and infalliby disgust the sensible. 

"The terms and manner of publishing are specified 
beloAv. Should we succeed, the plan may be enlarged ; if 
not, we shall retire without shame from a pusuit commenc- 
ed without arrogance. We have chosen the title of The 
Relator, and the following are its terms, etc., etc. Signed, 
John Howel, Junr., Editor." 

The prospectus of the Calcutta Journal appears in the 
Government Gazette of September 1818. The newspaper 
was to occupy the place of the Calcutta Gazette and the 
Morning Post, the proprietors of which papers had agreed 
to sink those journals, the newspaper being published twice 
a week. 

The Calcutta Exchange Price Current was commenced 
in September, 1818. 

The first number of the Asiatic Magazine and Revieiv, 
and Literary and Medical Miscellany, published in 
Calcutta in July 1818. at the Mirror Press. 

In 1817 was published the Friend of hidia at Scram- 

The Calcutta Journal was on the 1st IVlav. 1819, made 
a daily paper ^vith the exception of Mondays and Things- 
days, at a charge of eight rupees a month. This is the first 
newspaper or periodical that professed to the illustrated. 
The nimiber of engravings, however, did not exceed four 
a month, which were charged for separately at 8 annas each. 
The second num.ber of the Asiatic Magazine published 
at the Bengal Hircarrah office. No. 7, Post Office street, 
appeared on the 21st June, 1798. As a specimen of what 
the literature of Indian magazines was at that day, we 
append the contents of this num.ber : — (1) Travels of a 
Native on Terra Incognita ; (2) The Dabash, or Peregrina- 
tions and Exploits of Suamoy, a native of Hindostan ; (3) 
Memoir of Antony Joseph Grosas, &c. ; (4) The Tears of 
the Press ; (5) Anecdote of an elephant ; (6) On the reli- 



gious ceremonies of the Hindus ; (7) Speech of Peter Moore, 
Esquire, at a Court of Proprietors, etc. ; (8) The Maid of 
the Moor ; (9) Political review, general intelligence, civil 
appointments, and domestic occurrences. The price of this 
magazine was— to subscribers sicca rupees four a number, 
and to non-subscribers six ! 

In a Calcutta Gazette of the 25th May, 1815, we find 
a Government notice stating that "the printing business of 
Government shall be transferred from the Calcutta Gazette 
press to the press established at the Military Orphan 
Society ;" and "that a weekly paper will be published at 
the Society's Press from the commencement of the ensunjg 
month, to be styled the Government Gazette. The (kU- 
cutta Gazette, which had been established in 1784, still 
continued to be printed. 

On the 31st October, 1824, the Weekly Gleaner was 
published in Calcutta, as the prospectus stated, for "meet- 
ing the convenience of those gentk^men whose numerous 
avocations may not admit of their enjoying an attentive or 
undivided perusal of the daily newspapers, circulated 
throughout Calcutta and its environs, and particularly for 
those residing in the mofussil, who may not have an oppor- 
tunity of seeing all the papers, and who can, for a trifling 
sum, obtain the news of the whole week." 

The John Bull in the East was published on the 2nd of 
July, 1821, at the "Hindostanee Press." James Mackenzie 
%vas the editor. 

"Proposals for publishing a new weekly, to be 
entitled the Calcutta Courier," are advertised in the papers. 
The first number to appear on the 6th May, 1827. The 
publishers were "Messrs. Hollingbery and Knelen, No. 3, 
Meera Jany Gully, Calcutta." 

We have an account, in the Oriental Magazine for 
1827, of a portion of the newspaper press of Calcutta, which 
we shall summarise briefly. The Bengal Hurkaru was the 
leading journal, as the oldest established of those then in 
existence in Bengal. Its influence on public opinion was 
however not very great, as its opinions were constantly 
changing. The India Gazette was a paper of established 
reputation, its circulation was extensive, and its opinions 


solid and influential. The Government Gazette, from its 
official connection with authority, was necessarily preclud- 
ed from independent discussion on passing events ; but its 
statements were relied upon with more faith than those con- 
tained in the other journals, and in its information on 
subjects of science and literature it was greatly valued. The 
Chronicle had been only recently established, and was con- 
ducted on the principles that distinguished the late Cal- 
cutta Journal (of which Mr. Buckingham, who was sum- 
marily deported, had been the editor) and advocated a free 
press and colonization with zeal and assiduity. 

A periodical under the name of the Kaleidoscope ap- 
peared in August 1829, in Calcutta. 

In the same year appeared the first number of the 
Bengal Annual. 

The Calcutta Christian Intelligencer began publica- 
tion as a monthly magazine in 1829. 

The Calcutta Christian Observer about the same time. 

On the 25th June, 1790, was published the first num- 
ber of the Bombay Gazette, "by authority." It was then a 
weekly publication. 

The Calcutta Literary Gazette, under the editorial 
management of Captain D. L. Richardson appeared in 1825. 

A daily paper under the title of the East Indian was 
commenced in Calcutta on the 1st June, 1831, conducted 
by Mr. Derozio, an East Indian by birth. 

A good many newspapers and periodicals have been 
started in Calcutta of late, but it is doubtful whether at 
the present moment there are as many English publica- 
tions of this sort as existed fifty years ago in that city. From 
an article in the Calcutta Qiiarterly Magazine for 1833, 
■tvritten by the editor of the John Bull, who, we suppose, 
must have been Mr. J. H. Stocqueler, we take the follow- 
ing emuneration of journals, Sec. : — 

Daily. — Bengal Hurkaru, India Gazette, Calcutta 
Courier, John Bull. 

Tri-weekly. — India Gazette, Bengal Chronicle and 
Indian Register. 

Half-weekly. — Calcutta Courier, and Calcutta Gazette. 

Weekly. — Literary Gazette, Oriental Observer, Bengal 


Herald, Reformer, Philanthropist, Enquirer, Gyananeshun, 
Sumachar Durpun. 

Monthly. — Calcutta Monthly Journal, Bengal Sporting 
Magazine, Christian Intelligencer, and Christian Observer. 
Alternate Months. — East Indian United Service Jour- 

Quarterly. — Calcutta Magazine and Review, Bengal 
Army List. 

The above list contains a goodly number of organs for 
the literary gratification of our Anglo-Indian ancestors. The 
oldest of these was the Indian Gazette, which seems at first 
to have been the official organ of Government. Originally 
a weekly paper, in 1822 it appeared twice, and in 1830 
trice, a week, shortly after this date issuing a daily edition. 
Its politics, we learn, were "not merely strongly Whiggish" 
but "approached to the Radical party," and it was distin- 
guished for its general 'gentlemanlikeism.' It entered 
largely upon the consideration of questions connected with 
the government of the country, undeterred by any fear of 
the displeasure of authority or any anxiety for the applause 
of the magnitude." Its "literary taste" was, we further 
learn, "severe." Next in age came the Bengal Hurkaru. 
A weekly journal in 1795, when it first appeared ; in 1819 
it blossomed into a 'daily,' and in 1824, on the death of 
its rival the Calcutta Journal, the censorship of the press 
established by Eord Wellesley having been removed, "took 
up a lofty position as the advocate of free discussion, colo- 
nization, the education of the natives, and many other popu- 
lar measures." 

The Calcutta Courier was up to the year 1831 the 
Calcutta Government Gazette, and the verdict passed on it 
was that "it lacks dignity ; — where commerce, steam, or 
figures are concerned, the leaders of the Courier are able 
and accurate ; but in treating political or local questions of 
moment, they are frequently charged ^vith flippancy, dul- 
ness, or self-sufficiency." 

The youngest of the daily papers in 1833 was the John 
Bull, established in 1821 as the John Bull of the East. Its 
conductor declared that it "arose amid the storms and con- 
tentions in society -^vhich the Calcutta Journal was engen- 


dering ; and it came professedly as an antidote to the poi- 
son disseminated by the print." This paper, we are told, 
"maintained its popularity by great attention to its intel- 
ligence department, and an adherence to Tory and Anglo- 
Indian conservancy politics until 1829," when from vari- 
ous causes it rapidly declined in circulation and must have 
expired in 1833 into the hands of Mr. Stocqueler, The 
change was a \iolent one — no less than a complete transi- 
tion from Tory to Whig politics, but it was justified by its 
success, and in the following year its title was changed to 
that of the Englishman. 

Of the other journals it is not necessary to say much. 
The Bengal Chronicle was but a reprint of the best articles 
in the Hurkaru, with which paper the Bengal Herald was 
also closely connected. The Indian Register was "an inju- 
dicious attempt on the part of the East Indians to possess 
a journal exclusively their own." The Philanthropist and 
Enquirer were religious papers, the editor of the latter "in 
the fervour of his zeal for Christianity" circulating 100 
copies at his OAvn expense. The Reformer and Gyanan- 
eshiin dealt with local questions of all kinds, the latter be- 
ing printed half in English and half in Bengalee. The Sport- 
ing Magazine was conducted by the editor of the John Bull. 

Light Literature 

On the 27th January, 1785, was published, "printed 
in the manner of the Bath Guide, and embellished with 
copper plates, The Indian Guide, or /ournal of a Voyage to 
the East Indies ; in a series of Political Epistles to her 
mother from Miss Emily Brittle." 

We have two proposals in 1795, for publishing works 
on India, ^vhich was a significant sign of the times ; people 
who had tra^'elled were now beginning to put the result 
of their eyes and ears on paper, and transmitting their 
knowledge of India by means of type to people at home, 
who were supremely ignorant of every thing relating to the 
country and its inhabitants. The two advertisements to 
which we allude, are — (1) "Proposal for the publication 
of a comedy, in five acts, called The Mirror, the scene of 
which is laid in Calclutta ," and (2) "Proposed for pub- 
lishing The Indian Traveller, in three volumes by Mr. 


Sonnerat, Commissary General of the French navy." Each 
volume cost two gold mohurs. — rather a valuable work if ^ve 
are to assess it by the price, but everything in those days 
was "costly and precious." 

[Advt.] "In the Press, and speedily will be published 
[Price only one gold mohur.] The Bevy of Calcutta 
Beaux. (Of a proper size, to be bound up with the Bevy 
of Beauties) dedicated to the elegant though unknown 
author of the * * * * 

The Beaux I sing, who left fair London's town, 
(Done up by fate !) to parry fortune's frown. 
With shining Siccas, visit Indian shores 
In their mind's greedy eye grasping Calcutta-crores." 

In May 1821 was published in Calcutta "Shigiampo," 
or "the Life and Adventures of a Cadet, a Hudrastic poem, in 
32 cantos, addressed to the Honorable the Court of Direc- 

Scientific and Useful 

Professor Gilchrist published his Oordoo Dictionary in 
Calcutta in 1787. 

On the 23rd April, 1789, appears an advertisement 
headed "A Card," announcing "the humble request of 
several natives of Bengal : "—"We humbly beseech any 
gentlemen will be so good to us as to take the trouble of 
making a Bengal Grammar and Dictionary, in which we 
hope to find all the common Bengal country words made 
into English. By this means we shall be enabled to recom- 
mend ourselves to the English Government and understand 
their orders ; this favor will be gratefully remembered by 
us and our posterity for ever." 

"An English Grammar, in Persian and Bengali," by 
Dr. Mackinnon, was advertised for early publication at the 
Hon'ble Company's Press, in Calcutta.— 23rd September, 


Francis Gladwin publishes (1793) an English transla- 
tion of a Materia Medica, entitled Ulfaz Udwiyeh, compiled 
by Nouredeen Mohomed Abdul, Lah Shirazy, physician to 
the Emperor Shahjehan. Price two gold mohurs. 


The following books published by Mr. Gladwin, are 
advertised for sale : — "Persian Moons hee, price 60 Sa. Rs. ; 
Dictionary of Mohammedan Law, Rs. 30 ; System of 
Revenue Accounts, Rs. 30 ; Dissertations on the Rhetoric, 
Prosody and Rhyme of the Persians, Rs. 30 ; Ulfaz Udwiyeh, 
a medical dictionary, Rs. 30 ; English and Persian Voca- 
bulary, Rs. 16 ; Tooteenamah, Rs. 16." Verily the cost of 
printing must have been great, or authors and publishers 
wanted to make their money fast, 

A Dictionary of the Bengalee language, first volume, 
was published at the end of October 1815. 

On the 29th November, 1792, Mr. Baillie, Superinten- 
dent of the Free School, informs the public that the Plan 
of Calcutta is ready for delivery. "He regrets that many 
unforeseen though unavoidable incidents have greatly re- 
tarded the publication, and particularly in waiting many 
months in the expectation that the streets in the native part 
of the town would have received new names as those in 
the Emopean quarter have lately done." This plan, which 
was 33 inches by 14, points out all the streets, lanes, ghauts, 
&c. "The public buildings are also particularly distin- 
guished, though from the smallness of the scale, it was found 
impracticable to lav do^vn with any degree of distinctness 
every individual private house with its office, as they are 
laid down in the original" (from which this had been re- 
duced,) "which is on a scale of about 26^ inches to a mile, 
whereas the scale of the reduced copy is little more than 
6i inches to a mile." Price 25 sicca rupees mounted on 

A "General Military Register of the Bengal Establish- 
ment from the year 1760 to 1795" is advertised as being in 
the Press and to be issued, in 1795, at one gold mohur a 
copy. This was virtually the first Bengal Army List as if 
contained "a view of the military establishment, as it stood 
in the year 1760, and the names of all the officers that have 
been admitted since that time alphabetically arranged 
under the respective heads of Infantry, Artillery, Engineers 
and Surgeons, showing in separate columns, the dates of 
their appointment, whether in Europe or in India, dates 
of promotion through all the ranks of the Army — resigna- 


tions, readmissions, dismissions and restorations, together 
with casualties, and remarks, mentioning the times and 
places of their decease, 8cc., Sec, as far as can be ascertained 
from the official records of the Military Department." Mr. 
White was the author, and Mr. Thomas Livingstone, at 
the Mirror Press, No. 158. Chitpore Road, was the publi- 
sher. The advertiser comments on the quality of the ^vork ; 
he announces as follows : — "It is unnecessary to comment 
on the utility of a work exhibiting in a compendious form 
a complete view of the Bengal Army, from the earliest re- 
cords to the present time. The historian and the anti- 
quary will find it an useful assistant in their respective 
departments ; and individuals in general, who may be 
desirous of ascertaining the fate of their friends, relations 
and acquaintances, will be enabled from such a register, 
to gratify their curiosity by the most simple and ready 

"Though!') on I^ueiling" is advcitised as being (in 
1793) about to be printed, and subscriptions for the work 
are said to be received at "the Library" — a public library 
probably. Of the whereabouts of this building we have 
not been able to find any trace. There must have been a 
library previous to this time, as we find that on the 30th 
of March, 1792, the books belonging to "the late Calcutta 
Circulating Library" were sold at the 77eiv Court House. 

The publication "by authority of the Honorable Court 
of Directors of the East India Company," of Symes' "Embassy 
to the Kingdom of Ava." is announced (August 22, 1799) 
at a price of fifty rupees per copy. Mr. Symes was sent 
by the Governor-General of India in the year 1795, to nego- 
ciate a treaty of amity and commerce with the sovereign of 
Ava, "an empire, imperfectly known, though important 
and extensive." 

Dr. Patrick Russell's "Account of Indian Serpents, col- 
lected on the coast of Coromandel. giving an exact des- 
cription, illustrated with a drawing, highlv colored, of each 
species, together with experiments and remarks on their 
se\'eral poisons," is advertised for sale at thirty-five sicca 
rupees a copy. Also "The third number of Drawings of 
Indian Plants, by Dr. Roxburgh." price twelve sicca rupees. 


Edward Scott Waring ad\ertises his forthcoming work, 
a History of the Mahrattas, to which is prefixed a History 
of the Deccan, from A. D. 1000. Subscription, fifty rupees. 

The '"Mohumadan Law of Inheritance" was pubHshed 
bv Sir \\'illiam Jones at sixteen sicca rupees a copy, the pro- 
ceeds from the sale of ^vhich he generously devoted to the 
aid of insolvent debtors. We do not suppose the proceeds 
could have gone a great Avay towards the help of these poor 
men, unless in those palmy days there were very few debtors 
in the jail. It must be recollected, how^ever, that there 
Avcre no bankruptcy courts in 1792, and prisoners for debt 
languished for years in the jail, and some even died with- 
out being able to get themselves relie^ed. Sir William 
Jone's help, therefore, was very commendable. 

Captain AVilliam Francklin advertises the publication 
of his "History of Shah Aulum" (1798). 

"AV'ith the approbation and permission of Earl Corn- 
wallis, Lieutenant Colebrooke proposes to publish by subs- 
cription twelve views of the most remarkable forts and 
places in the Mysore country, from dra wrings taken on the 
spot." Subscription of each set, one hundred and twenty 
Arcot rupees. 

George Forster, of the Civil Service, announces the 
earlv appearance of the first volume of his "Journey from 
Bengal to England through the northern part of India, 
Kashmire, Afghanistan, and Persia, and into Russia bv the 
Caspian Sea ; sketches of Hindoo mythology, and an abbre- 
viated history of the Rohillas. Shujah-ud-dowlah and the 
Sikhs." Price, twenty-five sicca rupees. 

The prospectus appears in 1803, of a plan for the 
publication of the Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas, who 
l3v extraordinary talents and enterprize, rose from an 
obscure situation to the rank of a general in the service of 
the native powers. This work was published by the autho- 
rity of His Excellency the Most Noble Richard Marquis 
"W'elleslev, Governor-General and Captain-General in India, 
&:c., &c., by William Francklin, Captain of Infantry. Subs- 
cription, fifty rupees. 

The "Oriental Obituary, or a record to perpetuate the 
memory of the Dead, being an impartial compilation from 



monumental inscriptions of the tombs of those persons, 
whose ashes are deposited in this remote part of the world." 
is advertised for sale at sa. Rs. eight. The compiler of 
these selections is in possession of a copy of this work. 
Messrs. Holmes and Co., undertakers in Calcutta, manv 
years afterwards, published a more complete Register un- 
der the same title, much of the information in which ^vas 
obtained from the work noted above, which was published 
in 1809. 

Grace's Code of Bengal Military Regulations is adver- 
tised as for sale at the Calcutta Gazette Press, in July 1810, 
at 50 Rupees per copv. 

We have in the Asiatic Journal of June 1829. a review 
of a work then just published, entitled "The Bengalee ; or 
Sketches of Society and Manners in the East ;" we repro- 
duce the notice of it from the Journal above named : 'It 

is to be regretted that we have so few of these li\eh- des- 
criptions of '"Life as it is" in India. Ably delineated 
pictures of Anglo-Indian manners, communicated in the 
convenient vehicles of a well-constructed tale, such, for 
example, as Hajji Baba, which so accurately portravs the 
manners of Persia, would tend materially to lessen the 
hitherto unconquerable repugnance of the public taste to 
oriental topics. A work of this nature Ave have just seen, 
which exhibits some lively and agreeable pictures of societv 
among the various classes of Englishmen resident hi the 
East. The work is of a miscellaneous character, consist- 
ing of tales, poetry, characters. &c.. connected loosely toge- 
ther by a narrative of the author's supposed historv. from 
his arrival in India, at the close of the last centurv till his 
return to England, on receiving a hint from the cholera 

"He began his career as a lo\'er : the deep blue eves of 
a certain Lucinda captivated his soul ; he breathed his pas- 
sion, and was told he must have made a mistake. His dis- 
appointment made him first a misanthrope ; he was invited 
to join a Jawab club (of rejected suitors) ; he foresAvore beef, 
and became almost a convert to Hindooism. From this fit 
of abstraction he was rescued by Avitnessing a hurricane on 
the Ganges, when a pinnance was exposed to the danger 


of being engulphed in the rapid stream ; but by the Ben- 
galee's assistance she was secured, with her passengers, one 
of whom, as might be expected, was the identical blue-eyed 
damsel, now a wife and a mother. Such is the author's 

This amusing volume was the production of Captain 
H. B. Henderson, of the Bengal Army. 

[Advt.]" Sheet Almanac for the year 1785, particularly 
adapted for Calcutta, containing the month and week days, 
holidays, sun and moon's rising and setting, time of high- 
water at Calcutta and a table showing the time of high- 
water at the following places throughout the year, viz., 
Pointjelly, Fulta, Culpee, Kedgeree, Indialee, Eastern and 
\\'estern Braces ; also a table of the Kings and Queens of 
Great Britain, a table of Remarkable Events since the crea- 
tion, and three tables and examples for reducing Sicca 
Rupees into Arcot, Arcot into Sicca, and Sicca into current." 

Mr. Mackay advertises the publication of the "Indian 
Calendar, containing lists of the civil and military servants, 
on the Bengal Establishment," to which was attached "the 
English, Mahomedan and Hindoo Almanack." Price, ten 
sicca rupees. November 1787. 

The "British India Almanack" is advertised to be pub- 
lished at the "World" press, 1793, at a price of four rupees 
a copy ; also a "Sheet Almanac," at three rupees. 

The first volume of the Calcutta Annual Directory 
and Calendar was published in 1801. 

An advertisement appears on the 12th July. 1804. for 
printing a "Monthly Directory, or Civil and Military List 
of Bengal" — this was to be complied from official docu- 
ments. The price of the work was two rupees per men- 

The "original" Calcutta Directory was published first 
in 1799, at the Morning Post office. 

Vernacular Press 

The most ancient specimen of printing in Bengalee, 
that we have, is Halhed's Grammar, printed at Hooghly in 
1778. Halhed was so remarkable for his proficiency in col- 
loquial Bengalee, that he was known ^vhen disguished in 
a native dress to pass as a Bengalee in assemblies of Hindoos. 


The types for the grammar ^vere prepared by the hands of 
Sir C. AVilkins, who by his perseverance amid many difficul- 
ties, deserves the title of the Caxton of Bengal. He ins- 
tructed a nati\e blacksmith, named Panchanan (a Nerv 
illustrative name) in type-cutting, and all the native know- 
ledge of type-cutting was derived from him. One of the 
earliest works, printed in Bengalee, was Carey's translation 
of the New Testament, published in 1801. The life of 
Raja Pratapadirya, "the last King of Sagur," published in 
1801, at Serampore, ^vas one of the first works written in 
Bengalee prose. 

The first Bengalee newspaper, that broke in on the 
slumber of ages, and roused the natives from the torpor of 
selfishness, was the Durpun of Serampore. which began its 
career on the 23rd May, 1818. The Marquis of Hastings, 
instead of yielding to the imaginary fears of enemies to a 
free press, or continuing the pre\ ious policy of government 
by withholding political knowledge from the people, gave 
every aid to the Durpun. Under the regime of the Mar- 
quis the first impulse was given to the vernacular news- 
paper press. He himself afforded every encouragement to 
native education as he was not one of those who thought 
the safety of British India depended on keeping the natives 
immersed in ignorance. He was a man that did not shrink, 
in 1816, when addressing the students of Fort William Col- 
lege, from avo^ving the noble sentiment — "It is human — it 
is generous to protect the feeble ; it is meritorious to re- 
dress the injured ; but it is godlike bounty to bestow expan- 
sion of intellect, to infuse the Promethean spark into the 
statue, and waken it into a man." On the publication of 
the first number of the Durpun, the Marquis wrote a letter 
with his own hand to the editor, expressing his entire ap- 
proval of the paper. The Durpun had a long life ; we 
believe it existed for fully thirty years, and carried out the 
principles on which it started throughout its career. 

Rammohun Roy commenced in 1821 a Bengalee perio- 
dical, called the Brahmcnical Magazine; "its career was 
rapid, fiery, meteoric ; and both from want of solid subs- 
tance, and through excess of inflammation, it soon exploded 
and disappeared." 


Almanacs form a class of works that were compiled at 
an early period in Bengalee. Previous to 1820, these were 
in manuscript, but were commenced in that year to be 
printed. The Hindoo Almanac for 1825 was printed at 
Agardwip, where the first press '^vas established that was 
conducted by Indians. 

The Chundrika newspaper started in 1821 ; it was the 
consistent ad^'ocate of thorough-going Hindoo orthodoxy. 

The Kaumadee newspaper ^vas published in 1823 ; it 
was the organ of Rammohun Roy, and was designed to 
counteract the influence of the Chundrika. 

The Banga Dut commenced in 1829, under the manage- 
ment of Mr. R. Martin, Dwarkanath Tagore, Prosonno 
Coomar Tagore, and Rammohun Roy. 

We have thought it necessary to notice these first pro- 
ductions of the Bengalee nexvspapers. They increased 
rapidly in numbers ; so that in 1830. there were published 
in Calcutta sixteen newspapers ; of which three were dailies,, 
one tri-weekly, two bi-weekly, seven weekly, tAvo bi-monthlv, 
and one monthly. The number of sulDscribers to these 
various publications was stated to be about 20,000. 

In April 1792, was published a Descriptive Poem bv 
Kalidas — The Seasons — in the original Sanskrit. The first 
book that had ever been printed in that language. Price 
10 sicca rupees. 

With reference to the disposition of the Court of Direc- 
tors to encourage Indian literature, as intimated in their 
despatch of the 25th May, 1798. and the collection and pre- 
servation of oriental manuscripts and publications, the 
Court now intimated (19th June. 1806) "that the apart- 
ments for the oriental library being completed according to 
our intentions, have been placed under the charge of Mr. 
Charles Wilkins, formerly of our civil service in Bengal, 
and that a considerable number of manuscripts, and printed 
books on oriental subjects, ^vith objects of natural history 
and curiosity, have already been placed in it, among which 
are many ^'aluable presents from individuals and public 
bodies in this country." 

The public in India were invited by the Governor- 
General to transmit "whatever books in any of the Asiatic 


languages or other articles coming within the object of the 
Hon'ble Court's collection," through the Indian govern- 
ment as presentations to the Library and Museum in 
Leadenhall Street. 

The first number of a new periodical paper under the 
title of The Vakeel, is advertised to appear on New Year's 
Day, 1813, from the Telegraph office, Tank Square, to be 
continued on the 1st and 15th of each month. 

A native newspaper, published in the Persian language 
and under the title of the Shems-al-Akhbar, terminated its 
career in 1827, the editor having discovered that he had got 
too far before "the age," to realize his visionary dreams of 
improving and enlightening his countrymen, or even to 
earn curry-bhat by his vocation. 

"Be it known to all men," says he — "that from the time 
this paper, the Shems-al-Akhbar, was established by me. to 
the present day, which is now about five years, I have gain- 
ed nothing by it except vexation and disappointment, not- 
withstanding what idle and ignorant babblers may please 
to assert. The inability of the public in the present dav 
to appreciate desert, and their indifference to the exhausting 
and painful exertions made in their cause, verify the verse : 
'I have consumed, and my flames have not been seen ; like 
the lamps in a moonlight night, I have burnt away un- 
heeded.' It is time, therefore, to desist, and, withdrawing 
my hand from all further concern with this paper, I have 
determined to repose on the couch of conclusion." 

The Megha Duta or Cloud Messenger, a poem in the 
Sanskrit language, with a translation into English verse, bv 
Horace Hayman Wilson, was published at the close of 1813. 
Price Sa. Rs. 16. 

In the early part of 1831, a weekly paper, edited by 
Indians, and entitled the Reformer, was started in Calcutta. 
We copy the editor's "address to our countrymen," ^vhich 
is unique, and shows the state of education then pre\'alent 
among the natives, and how ready they were to take advan- 
tage of the libertv which the fourth estate enjoyed under 
the government of Lord William Bentinck. The "address 
to our countrymen," appears in No. 2 of the Reformer in 
1831 : — 


"It is indeed gratifying to my feelings to observe, that 
an proportion as our understandings expand, as our feelings 
take the right course, and as our minds shake off the shackles 
of ignorance and superstition, means are taken by those to 
Avhose zeal in this good cause the native community are 
not a little indebted for raising them towards the meridian 
of all that is good and great. Whatever may be the opinion 
of those who ad\ocate the continuance of the state of things 
as they are, there will come a time when prejudice, ho^vever 
deep and ramified its roots are reckoned to be, will droop, 
and eventually wither away before the benign radiance of 
liberty and truth. 

"It is not on a mere theoretical presumption that we 
raise this great and noble fabric of what must be estimated 
the only means of happiness to mankind. The influence 
of liberty and truth has spread and is spreading far and 
wide, and nothing can check its course. There was a time 
^vhen the natives of this country were looked upon as a 
race of unprincipled and ignorant people, void of all the 
qualities that separate the human from the brute creation. 
But look at the contrast now. Is it possible that at the 
present day an impeachment of such a dark character will 
be allowed to bear the slighest colour of truth ? 

"The retrospect is indeed sad — pitiable ; but we have 
relinquished the notions that had made it so. We are, as 
it ^vere, regenerated in the light and by the influence of 
principles, that testify the truth of our being made after 
the image of our Maker. Our ideas do not range no^v on 
the mere surface of things. We have commenced probing, 
and will probe on, till we discover that which will make us 
feel we are men in common with others, and, like them, 
capable of being good, great, and noble. We have been 
sufficiently degraded and despised, and will no longer bear 
the stigma. We cast off prejudice, and all its concomit- 
ants as objects abhorrent to the principles which are cal- 
lated to ennoble us before the world." 

"Assisted by the light of reason, we have the gladden- 
ing prospect before us, of soon coming to that standard of 
civilization, which has established the prosperity of the 
European nations. Let us then, my countrymen, pursue 


Tvith diligence and care, the track laid down by these 
glorious nations. Let us follow the ensign of liberty and 
truth, and, emulating their wisdom and their virtues, be 
in our turn the guiding needle to those who are blinded by 
the gloom of ignorance and superstition." 

Bengali Literature 

Surendra Krishna Dutt gives us in the Bengal Maga- 
zine an account of the rise and progress of Bengalee litera- 
ture, which we have appropriated \vith some alterations. 

Bengalee literature commenced at abotu the same time 
with that of England ; and the earliest Indian ^vriters ap- 
peared just when Chaucer and Gower were writing in Eng- 
land. But while, owing to the early introduction of the art 
of printing in England, we are accjuainted with the m.ain 
facts connected with the rise and progress of English lite- 
rature, and the transitions it has undergone, we are almost 
completely in the dark as regards the early stages of Ben- 
galee literature ; since the art of printing has been made 
use of in Bengal only in modern times. We know nothing 
of the lives of ancient authors ; and the only lights that 
we get in our enquiry consist of small [massages in their own 
writings which have come down to us in a mutilated and 
interpolated form. As regards the languages, a chronological 
review of the works of the Bengalee writers slowly leads us 
from a crude form of the Hindee. which prevailed in Ben- 
gal in the 14th century, to the polished Bengalee of Iswar 
Chandra Vidyasagar. 

Vidyapati is the name of the earliest poet. — the Chau- 
cer of Bengal. Only a few of his songs have come down to 
us. He -wTote about 1389 A. D., and his language is a 
crude form of Hindee. From his writings it appears that he 
was a follower of Krishna. Contemporaneouslv with him 
there lived another poet — Chandi Das. Of him we know 
nothing, except that his name was mentioned by Vidyapati 
in his songs. He too was a follower of Krishna. 

From the earliest times the literature of Bengal mav be 
appropriately divided into t-wo classes, x'iz., the Tantrika 
and the Bhaga\'at ; — the former school of poets being the 
worshippers of Sakti. and the latter the -worshippers of 
Krishna. The Tantrikas worshipped Sakti, i.e., a female 


representation of the Creative Power, but the worship dege- 
nerated into debauchery, and the works and Hves of the 
Tantrikas of later days are characterized by lewdness and 
immorality. The Bhagvat school began long before the 
time of Chaitanya, but that great reformer swelled the tide 
of protests against Tantrika morality, and from his time the 
Vaishnava religion gained strength. 

The history of Bengalee literature is lost in confusion 
for over a hundred years after the time of Vidyapati, and 
all that we can discover are a fe^v glimmering stars twinkl- 
ing in the distance of time. Thus the dark age of Ben- 
galee literature corresponds with the dark age of English 
literature, both occupying the entire 15th century of the 
Christian era. About the beginning of the 16th century 
^vhen Luther was thundering in Europe, Chaitanya began 
his ^vork of reformation in Bengal, and the literature of his 
period presents us with a mass of Kirtans or songs of praise 
of Krishna. It was at this period that Krishna Dass Kavi- 
raj wrote the Chaitanya-Charitamrita, or the nectar of the 
life of Chaitanya. The language of this book is compara- 
tively free from the Hindee element, and the work describes 
^vith sincere eulogium the work of the great reformer. 

The bright reign of Elizabeth in England was contem- 
poraneous with the gorgeous reign of Akbar in India, and 
the causes which led to activity of thought and action in 
England at this period operated at the same time at which 
the wholesome reforms brought about by Todar Mai in- 
duced a similar activity of the intellect in Bengal. To com- 
plete our comparison, we need only mention that Kirtibas 
and Kasiram Das — the two poets whose names are most 
widely known and dearly cherished through the length and 
breadth of Bengal — wrote precisely at the times when 
Shakespeare and Milton wrote in England, respectively. 

On the life and acts of Kirtibas we have a very meagre 
account. He was born in Foolia, a village near Santipur 
in the classic soil of Nuddea ; and he describes himself as 
the grandson of Murari Ojah, a well-known exorcist. He 
flourished at the end of the 16th century, and his great 
work, as everybody, knows, is the translation of the Rama- 
yana from the Sanskrit. We are told, however, that he did 


not know Sanskrit, and that he gleaned the story from the 
speakers or ministrels who, from a very remote period, use 
to chant and explain mythological stories from the Sanskrit 
to the assembled people. The language of Kirtibas's ver- 
sion of the Ramayana is almost entirely free from the 
Hindee element, and is simple and easy, and void of art. 
At the same time it displays graphic power of description 
as well as tenderness and pathos. 

It w^as at this time that the Bengalee language was 
undergoing a great change. The great Akbar, with the in- 
tention of consolidating his empire, introduced the system 
of bestowing responsible posts on the Hindu inhabitants of 
Bengal, and this necessitated the cultivation of the Persian 
tongue by the native Hindus. Todar Mai's new system of 
land administration also flooded the Bengalee tongue with 
Persian w^ords, and up to this time the language of the Court 
and the language of the zemindar's sherista are full of Per- 
sian w^ords. 

It was at this time that Makunda Ram Chakravarti 
lived and wrote, and some of his works are saturated with 
Persian. The poet w^as born in Damunya, a village in the 
district of Burdwan. The strength of Makunda Ram lay 
in imaginative description, and he has given us an account 
of the manners and customs of that period. He is said to 
have invented charades and enigmas ; his descriptions are 
natural and appropriate, and his love scenes are singularly 
devoid of obscene or vulgar expressions. The popular 
praise of Ganga in Bengalee is attributed to him. but we 
do not find it in his works. He flourished about 1620 A.D. 
The next poet of note is Kasi Ram Das, the translator 
of the Mahabharata. He was born in Siddhigram, in the 
district of Hooghly, and was a Kayastha by birth. There 
is a tradition that he lived to complete only three books 
and a part of the 4th out of the 18 books of the Maha- 
bharata, — and that his son-in-law did the rest. The Maha- 
bharata is perhaps the most popular book with the matrons 
of Bengal. Kasi Ram Das wrote about the middle or close 
of the 17th century. 

The melodious and pathetic songs of Ram Prasad Sen 
must ever overwhelm every feeling heart with sadness and 


woe. This genuine but unpretending poet was born in 
Halishaher Pergunna in a village called Kamarhatea, and 
was a Vaidya by caste. In 1723 A. D. he became a Sircar, 
i.e., account keeper to a gentleman of affluence. But yield- 
ing to the strong porpensities of his nature he wrote poems 
and songs in the accoimt books, which offended the head 
sircar, who produced the books to the master. The master, 
it would seem, was a man of feeling and good taste, and 
instead of censuring the bad accountant loved the genuine 
poet, and allowed him 30 Rs. per mensem so that he might 
indulge his natural propensities and write poetry and songs. 
Thus honored, Ram Prasad retired to his native village, 
and became known to several jatra-wallas, who paid him for 
his touching songs. But Ram Prasad was a poet to the 
bottom of his heart, and his soul was full of charity and 
melted at the sight of woe, so that though he had a toler- 
ably decent income he could not save a pice, and was often 
in distress. While thus living in retirement, he became 
acquainted with the munificent Raja Krishna Chandra Raya 
of Nadia, who was so pleased with his life and his songs, 
that the gave him 14 bighas of Lakhraj lands, and bestow- 
ed on him the title of Kavi Ranjan for having composed 
a poem, the Vidya Sundara, which is now lost. On one 
occasion the poet accompanied the Raja to Moorshedabad. 

Like other Tantrika poets he was addicted to drink, 
but when reproved he replied in a most feeling and touch- 
ing song that he was not drunk, but that his soul was drunk 
with the love of Sakti. He died in 1762 — it is said by jump- 
ing into the river Ganges with an image of Kali, which 
was thrown in after the ceremony of the puja was over. 

We next come to the renowed poet Bharat Chandra 
Raya. He was the greatest ornament of the court of the re- 
nowed Raja Krishna Chandra Raya of Nadia, who favoured 
him highly and gave him some lands near Mulojor, where 
Bharat retired in his after life. His principal work is the 
Annanda Mangala, of which the Vidya Sundara is the most 
famous. The Bengalee language owes much of its sweet- 
ness and richness to this poet, who was singularly happy in 
the expressions he used. 

We pass over a long list of minor poets, and only stop 


to mention the name of the great Ram Mohan Raya. The 
impetus which he and his followers have given to the prose 
literature of Bengal must be thankfully acknowledged by 
every one. As a poet. Ram Mohan Raya Avrote some songs 
which are full of feeling and moral sentiment. 

Madan Mohan Tarkalankar was a more thorough poet. 
He was born in 1816, and served the British Government 
as a Deputy Magistrate. His beautiful poetry is appreciated 
and read by every educated Bengalee. He died in 1858. 
Iswar Chandra Gupta bears a still nobler name in the 
annals of the poetic literature of Bengal. He was born in 
1810 in the village of Kanchrapara on the Hoogly — almost 
opposite to the town of Hooghly, and was a Vaidya by caste. 
He contributed very largely to the formation of the prose 
literature of Bengal — himself conducting some of the 
earliest and best conducted newspapers of the country. His 
poetic talents were first called into play by his animosity 
towards Gauri Sankara Bhattachariya, — better known as 
Gur Guri Bhattacharjya ; and the rival effusions of these 
two poets may well form a chapter in the annals of literary 
disputes. It was about 1848, that we find Iswar Chandra 
Gupta writing the Hita Prabhakar, Prabodha Prabhakar, 
the Bodhendu Bikas, and a lot of other books and periodi- 
cals. He died in 1859. 

Of the writings of Madhu Sudan Datta we shall say 
but little. He was born in the district of Jessore by the 
banks of the Kabatakkha. which he has immortalized in 
song, and after completing his education here, went to Eng- 
land and was called to the Bar. He began his practice at 
the Calcutta Bar with good success, but genuine poet that 
he was, he was ill suited for the legal profession. His last 
vears were spent in penury, and he died deeply lamented. 

Translations of Popular Vernacular Songs 

Tara Ba Tara. By Hafiz. 

Singer, O sing with all thine art. 
Strains ever charming, sweetly new ; 
Seek for the wine that opens the heart. 
Ever more sparkling, brightly new I 


V/ith thine own loved one like a toy. 
Seated apart in heavenly joy, 
Snatch from her lips kiss after kiss. 
Momently still renew the bliss ! 

Boy with the silver anklets, bring 
Wine to inspire me as I sing ; 
Hasten to pour in goblet bright 
Nectar of Shiraz, soul's delight. 

Life is but life, and pleasure's thine 
Long as thou quafE'st the quick'ning wine ; 
Pour out the flagon's nectary wealth. 
Drink to thy loved one many a health. 

Thou who hast stole my heart away. 
Darling, for me thy charms display ; 
Deck and adorn thy youth's soft bloom. 
Use each fair dye and sweet perfume. 

Zephyr of morn, when passing by 
Bow'r of my love, this message sigh. 
Strains from her Hafiz fond and true. 
Strains still more sparkling, sweetly new ! 

Song, from the Cashmerian 

A correspondent writing to the Calcutta Gazette on 
the 9th June, 1808, says — "Happening to attend a Cashme- 
rian nautch a few nights ago, I was struck with the melody 
and effect of one of the native airs, which so much attracted 
my attention that I procured a copy and version of the 
song. The original is the Cashmeree language, and the 
\ ersion has only the merit of being faithful : — 

O say what present from your hand 
Has reached me save caresses bland ; 
And oh ! was present e'er so dear 
As love's soft whispers to my ear. 


Mark, in affliction's sad decay. 
How this poor frame wastes fast away ; 
I languish, faint, from eve to morn, 
Nor taste of food one«barley-corn ; 
When death thy cruelty shall bring. 
Then wilt thou feel the scorpion's sting. 

Thou, a gay martial cavalier. 

All open force disdain'st to fear. 

Of wiles of love not well aware, ' 

Now art thou toiled into the same ; | 

My rival's false insidious art : 

Prevails, and triumphs o'er thy heart. j 

Bengalee Poem 

There's one whose charms have pierced my breast, and set my heart 

in flame 

Her father's only daughter she, and Veedya is her name. 

'Tis not for me those charms to tell : O I would she were but mine! j 

Though mortal hardly dare aspire to one almost divine. ' 

They say that Love has never shown his shape to human eye, 
Yet who beholds my Veedya, will the face of Love descry. 
Her dazzling beauty if the god at any time should see, 
I fear, alas! that Ram himself my rival soon would be. 

I'll write her songs, and pour my love-sick strains into her ear. 
The sacred odes of Nuddea shall my Veedya often hear ; 
O would I were a bird that sung in Vriddahro's green grove ! 
My notes might please the dainty ear of her I dearly love. 

My Veedya's beauty fills my head— I study nought beside ; 
My Veedya's name I dwell upon from morn till even-tide ; 
She only is my ever hope, my wish, my aim, my end ; 
My orisons to Veedya and to her alone ascend. 

Street Ballad 
The following is a translation of a native ballad of 


Nuzeer. which is very popular among the poor in Indian 
crowds at melas, 8cc. 

"Without a penny — be content to scrape up dirty crumbs. 
\V'ith a penny — pick and choose, for every dainty comes. 
Without a penny — on the ground lay down your restless head. 
With a penny — like a king, loll on a feather bed. 
Oh! pennies are 'mong wordly things the most esteemed 

of any. 
And the penniless poor wretch is valued — less than half a 


A Poem by Khivaja Hafiz 
Dtiring Mahmood Shah's reign the poets of Arabia and 
Persia resorted to the Deccan, and partook of his liberality. 
Meer Feiz Oollah Anjoo, w^ho presided on the sea of justice, 
once presenting the king with an ode, received a thousand 
pieces of gold, and was permitted to retire to his own 
country, loaded with wealth and distinction. The fame of 
the king's taste, his affability and munificence spread so 
^videly, that the celebrated poet of Shiraz, Khwaja Hafiz, 
determined to visit the Deccan, but was prevented by a 
train of accidents, which are thus related. Meer Feiz 
Oollah Anjoo sent to this famous poet a present from the 
king, and a letter from himself, promising, if he would 
come to Koolburga he should be handsomely rewarded, and 
have safe conduct back to Shiraz. Hafiz. from these kind 
assurances, consented, and having quitted Shiraz, arrived 
safely at Lar, where he assisted a friend who had been rob- 
bed, with part of his ready monev. From Lar he was ac- 
companied to Ormus by Khwaja Zein-ool-Abid-Deen Hani'- 
dany and Khwaja Mahomed Kaziroony, "^vho were also go- 
ing to visit Hindoostan. With these persons he took ship- 
ping in one of the royal vessels, which had arrived at Ormus 
from the Deccan, but it had scarcely weighed anchor when 
a gale of ^vind arose, and the ship was in danger, and re- 
turned to port. Hafiz suffered so much during the storm, 
that he insisted on being put ashore, and abandoned his 
voyage. Ha\'ing written the follows verses, he delivered 
them to his companions to be given to Feiz Oollah Anjoo, 
after Tvhich he returned to Shiraz : — 


Can all the gold the world bestows. 

Though poured by Fortune's bounteous hand. 

Repay me for the joys I lose, 
The breezes of my native land ! 

My friends exclaimed, 'Oh ! stay at home, 

Nor quit this once-beloved spot ; 
What folly tempts thee thus to roam — 

To quit Shiraz — desert thy cot ? 

' Yon royal court ^s ill ill repay. 
Though all its gorgeous wealth be given. 

The blessings which you cast away. 

Health and content, the gifts of heaven ?' 

The glare of gems confused my sight — 
The ocean's roar I ne'er had heard ; 

But now that I can feel aright, 
I freely own how I have ened. 

Though splendid promises were made, 

How could such a dotard prove. 
How could 1 leave my natal glade, 

Its wines, and all the friends I love ? 

Haflz abjures the royal court — 

Let him but have content and health ; 

For what to him can gold import. 

Who scorns the paths of ^v•o^ldIy ^vealth ? 

When Feiz Oollah received this poem, he read it to the 
King, ^vho was much pleased : and observed, that as Hafiz 
had set out with the intention of visiting him. he felt it 
incumbent not to leave him without proofs of his libera- 
lity. He therefore entrusted a thousand pieces of gold to 
Mahomed Kasim Meshidy, one of the learned men at Kool- 
burga. to purchase whatsoever, among the productions of 
India, was likely to prove most acceptable, in order to send 
them to the poet at Shiraz. 



The Nautch Girl's Songs 
The following is a translation of a well known "Gaz'l" 
of Hafiz, which is often sung by the nautch girls in 
Bengal : — 

\Vhilst banished from my love I pine, 

Ask me not what pangs are mine ; 

And ask me not the fair one's name, 

Whose matchless charms my heart inflame. 

Ask me, O ask me not to tell 

How many bitter tear drops fell, 

^V'hen my fond eyes last saw her face. 

And her retiring steps did trace. 

Nor ask me basely to betray 

The tender words the maid did say ; 

Or if her lip I dared to press. 

Ask not Hafiz to confess. 

Doomed now to nurse eternal care, 

O ask not what my sorrows are ; 

An exile from the charmer's gate. 

What tongue can tell my wretched state ! 

Working of the Censorship 

It is known that the Hindoos and Chinese contend for 
the invention of the press. It was first brought into use in 
India by the Portuguese, who established some presses at 

The first ne^vspaper started in Calcutta, as we have 
already stated, was. the Bengal Gazette on the 29th January, 
1780. Mr. Hickey was the proprietor and publisher. If 
any one desire to satisfy himself of the low moral tone of 
society in Calcutta at that period, let him turn over the 
pages of that paper. It is full of infamous scandals — in 
some places so disguised as to be almost unintelligible to 
the reader of the present day, but in others set forth broadly 
and unmistakably ; and with a relish not to be concealed. 
Many of the worst libels appear in the form of fictitious 
race-meetings, law cases, warlike engagements ; or are set 
forth in the shape of advertisements. As this journal teems 
ivith vile abuse of Warren Hastings and his coadjutors, it 


is not unlikely that the project was promoted, or at all 
events countenanced, by the powerful clique opposed to 
the Governor-General, namely Messrs. Philip Francis and 

The Bengal Gazette possessed all the venom for which 
Francis was noted, but lacked the ability of that gifted 
writer. As an example of the scurrilous attacks against the 
Governor-General and his friends, we shall quote the 
dramatis personoe of a "Playbill Extraordinary" inserted in 
its columns. There Warren Hastings figures as "Don 
Quixote fighting with windmills, by the Great Mogul, com- 
monly called the Tyger of War" ; Impey as "Judge Jeffreys, 
by the Ven'ble Poolbudy" ; Chambers as "Sir Limber, by 
Sir Viner Pliant" ; Justice Hyde as "Justice Balance, by 
Cram Turkey," and the Rev. W. Johnson, the senior chap- 
lain of the settlement, as "Judas Iscariot touching the forty 
pieces, by the Rev. Mr. Tally Ho ! " The Grand Jury — 
this, of course, refers to Nundkumar's trial — are represented 
as "Slaves, Train-bearers, Toad-eaters, and Sycophants." 
albeit they w'ere composed of independent gentlemen, mer- 
chants. &:c., and among them w^as benevolent Charles Wes- 
ton, w^ho benefited many and Avronged none, whether Euro- 
peans or Indians. Hickey describes himself there as "Cato, 
also the True-born Englishman ! " 

The play is stated to be "A Tragedy, called Tyranny 
in Full Bloom, or the Devil to Pay." Even poor Lady 
Impev Avas dragged in and insultingly alluded to thus : 
"Card Lasses and Pluckings at Lady Poolbudy's Routs." 
This was the style of vulgar lampoon indulged in by the 
Bengal Gazette regarding the then head of the Government 
and the principal personages belonging to it. 

The advertisements, published in Hickey's Gazette, 
conclusively prove that Calcutta folks then had many amuse- 
ments. The very first number mentions that, at the Cal- 
cutta Theatre, on an early date, would be acted the comedy 
of the "Beaux Stratagem," and that the Calcutta Races 
would be run ; one of the prizes to be run for is stated to 
be "the subscription plate, value 2.000 sicca rupees." 

It is but fair to state that Hickey did not merely pub- 
lish libellous articles against Hastings and his partisans : 


he slandered every one and any one he disliked right round. 
Even young ladies were most offensively alluded to under 
different soubriquets, which must have been transparent to 
every one composing the "Society of Calcutta" at that time. 
Among others, brought forward to the* notice of the public, 
was one named "Hookah Tarban," said to be a Miss W^rang- 
ham. Gentlemen are, of course, similarly dealt with, and 
one Mr. Tailor figures in an unenviable light frequently 
as "Mr. Darzi." Such slanders being cast broadcast, it is 
not surprising to learn that those whom Mr. Hickev malign- 
ed did not submit tamely to insult as this paragraph will 
show — 

"Mr. Hickey thinks it a duty incumbent on him to in- 
form his friends in particular, and the public in general, 
that an attempt was made to assassinate him last Thursday 
morning, between the hours of one and t^vo o'clock, by 
two armed Europeans, aided and assisted bv a Moorman. 
Mr. H. is obliged to postpone the particulars at present for 
want of room, but they shall be inserted the first oppor- 

Four years later, or in March 4, 1784. a semi-official 
organ, named the Calcutta Gazette, came into existence, 
under the editorship of Mr. Francis Gladwin, ^vhich the 
Governor-General, Mr. Warren Hastings, and his council, 
declared to be published "under their sanction and autho- 

It is impossible to turn over the Indian journals of 
1788, and the few following years, immediately after laying 
down those of 1780-81, without being struck with the very 
different kind of reading which the society had begun to 
relish. The journals of 1788 are highly decorous and res- 
pectable. They contain no private slander, no scurrilous 
invective, no gross obscenity. The papers abound in des- 
criptions of balls and plays, but in them is nothing offensive. 

The journals of 1793 were as regardful of the feelings 
of society as those of the present day ; they were scrupu- 
lously courteous to individuals, and delicately fearful of 
giving offence. 

No restriction was placed on writing until 1798. Up 
to that time the press in India was on the same footing with 


the press in England ; with this exception, that the Gover- 
nor-General might take away the license of any individual, 
and prevent him from remaining in India ; not the press 
license, but the license under which his residence was al- 
lowed. In all other 'respects ths press was the same as in 

Mr. Hickev was, in the time of Warren Hastings, tried 
and condemned for a libel ; but he was afterwards forgiven 
by his prosecutor. Colonel Duane, a gentleman who after- 
wards signalized himself in America, was banished by the 
Marquis Cornwallis ; and Dr. Maclean, another distinguish- 
ed indi\idual was sent away by the Marquis Wellesley. 
This led to a censorship, which was never registered 
in the Supreme Court. But, as the Governor- 
General possessed the power to remove any individual, he 
exercised that power to fix restraints on the press ; and thus 
the censorship was established. 

As an evidence of the working of the censorship which 
then existed on the Press, the following paragraph from the 
Calcutta Gazette, the Government organ, on the 10th Feb- 
ruary, 1785, will be of interest : "We are directed by the 
Honorable the Governor-General and Council to express 
their entire disapprobation of some extracts from English 
newspapers which appeared in this paper, during a short 
period when the editor was under the necessity of entrust- 
ing to other hands the superintendence of the Press." How 
puerile for the Go\'ernment of the day to disapprove of 
extracts from English newspapers ; had the paragi'aphs 
objected to been Calcutta editorals. there might have been 
some reason in the disapproval. It must have been a diffi- 
cult matter surelv to steer clear of shoals and rocks under 
such a despotic Go\'ernment. 

In 1818, the Marquis of Hastings abolished that cen- 
sorship. The restrictions or regulations which the Marquis 
of Hastings imposed in lieu of the censorship were never 
registered. Thev only operated through the Governor- 
General (without the concurrence of his council), in whose 
hands were placed the power of banishing any European 
he might think fit : but it remained a dead letter during 
the whole of Lord Hastings' administration ; the consequ- 


ence was, that while the noble Marquis governed the press 
was perfectly free. In that time seven newspapers were 

It was no longer necessary to submit the proofs of a 
newspaper to the Secretary to Government before publica- 
tion ; but still there were considerable restrictive rules im- 
posed on the press, which were communicated to the editors. 
in the following official letter : — "His Excellency the Gov- 
ernor-General in Council having been pleased to revise 
the existing regulations regarding the control exercised by 
the Government over the newspapers, I am directed to 
communicate to you, for your information and guidance, 
the following resolutions passed by His Lordship in Coun- 
cil. The editors of newspaper are prohibited from publish- 
ing any matter coming under the following heads : — 1st. 
Animadversions on the measures and proceedings of the 
Honorable Court of Directors or other public authorities 
in England connected with the Go\ernment of India, or 
disquisitions on political transactions of the local adminis- 
tration, or offensive remarks levelled at the public conduct 
of the members of the council, of the judges of the Supreme 
Court, or of the Lord Bishop of Calcutta. 2nd. Discussions 
having a tendency to create alarm or suspicion among the 
native population, of any intended interference with their 
religious opinions or observances. 3rd. The republication 
from English or other newspapers of passages coming under 
any of the above heads, or otherwise calculated to affect 
the British power or reputation in India. 4th. Private 
scandal, and personal remarks on individuals, tending to 
excite dissension in society." 

The question of restrictions of the press of India (Eng- 
lish newspapers of course), was the subject of an animated 
debate in the House of Commons. 

On the 21st of March, 1811, Lord A. Hamilton moved 
"for copies of all orders, regulations, rules and directions 
promulgated in India since the year 1797. regarding the 
restraint of the press at the three presidencies of Bengal. 
Madras, and Bombay, whether acted upon by the Govern- 
ment there, or sent out by the Court of Directors or the 
Board of Control. His object, he explained, was not to 


find fault with any of the regulations to which his motion 
referred, but merely that an opportunity might be afforded 
of knowing what were the laws in existence upon the sub- 
ject, and also upon what authority they had been established. 
By the existing regulations he understood no newspaper 
could be published in India which had not previously 
received the sanction of Government, on the penalty of im- 
mediate embarkation for Europe. The Secretary of the 
Government, in revising newspapers, was to prevent all 
observations respecting the public revenues and finances of 
the country ; all observations respecting the embarkations 
on boardship of stores or expeditions and their destination, 
w^hether they belonged to the Company or to Europe ; all 
statements of the probablity of war or peace between the 
Company and native Powers ; all observations calculated to 
convey information to the enemy ; and the republication of 
paragraphs from the European papers which might be 
likely to excite dissatisfaction or discontent in the Com- 
pany's territories. If the press was to be prevented from 
publishing anything on all these heads, he (Lord A. Hamil- 
ton) W'as at a loss to know what subject was left open to it." 

The motion was opposed by Mr. Dundas, who said 
that "the noble lord seemed to infer that no restraint 
should be placed upon the press in India. If such 
was his meaning, he must say that a wilder scheme 
never entered into the imagination of man than that of 
regulating the Indian press similarly to the English. 
There could be no doubt that the very Government 
would be shaken to its foundation if unlicensed publications 
were allowed to circulate over the continent of Hindustan. 
There could be but two descriptions of persons in India — 
those who went to that country with the license of the Com- 
pany, and those Avho lived in its actual service ; and there 
could be no doubt whatever that the Company had a right 
to lay any regulation it pleased on those who chose to live 
under its power, and who when they went into its territories 
knew the conditions of submission to its authority on which 
their stay depended." 

In the course of the discussion which followed, Sir 
Thomas Turton spoke in a strain of severe sarcasm on the 


principles of our government in India. He fully agreed 
that so delightful a plant as the liberty of the press could 
never flourish in the sterile soil of despotism. "Why," he 
asked, should you give Indians the advantage of know- 
ledge ? "You would only thereby be giving them the means 
of detecting your own injustice. You have ransacked their 
country, you have despoiled its people, you have murdered 
their princes ; and, of course for your own protection, you 
must keep them deluded, deceived and ignorant. You 
might as well tell me of the liberty of the press in Morocco 
and Algier as under your government in India. According 
to the right honorable gentleman, the people of India are 
considered as nothing. If such is your principle, to keep 
them ignorant is as much your policy as to keep them en- 
slaved has been your crime." Ultimately Lord A. Hamil- 
ton's motion was rejected, on a division, by a majority of 
53 against 18. An argtiment used against it by one of its 
opponents was as ingenious as it was unanswerable. 

"The liberty of the press was," he stated, "for the 
preservation of freedom ; but as there was no freedom in 
India to preserve, there was no occasion for liberty of the 

Mr. Buckingham took charge of the Calcutta Journal 
in 1818. It was his misfortune early in 1819 to incur the 
displeasure of the Governor-General. The first offence 
given by Mr. Buckingham was as follows : — "We have re- 
ceived a letter from Madras, with a deep mourning border, 
announcing the fact that Mr. Elliott is continued in his 
presidency of Madras for three years longer. This appoint- 
ment is regarded as a public calamity in Madras, and we 
fear it will be looked upon in no other light throughout 
India generally." 

But tliis was not the only off^ence committed ; in 
Mr. Buckingham's paper there appeared many other para- 
graphs said to be calculated to create discontent, and 
alinate the affections and allegations of the native of that 
vast empire. The Calcutta Journal had a large circulation. 

Mr. B. received repeated warnings from the Govern- 
ment, for inserting articles injurious to the interest of the 
East India Company. Amongst others was an attack upon 


the Bishop of Calcutta, and the Bishop appealed to the 
Government. Upon one occasion proceedings had been 
instituted against Mr. B. in the Supreme Court, and a true 
bill found against him, yet Mr. B. went on publishing 
articles, attacking even the grand jury which had foimd the 
bill. While these proceedings were in progress, one judge 
was removed to Madras, another went home, and Sir Francis 
Macnaghten through it best to postpone the inquiry. Sir 
Henry Bosset at length arrived, but his death shortly after 
caused the question to be postponed. Mr. Buckingham 
however continued his attacks on Go\ernment. 

On the 15th March, 1823, Mr. Money, the Standing 
Counsel to the Company, laid before the Supreme Court, 
a " Rule framed by the Honorable the Governor-General 
in Council, to regulate the fiUure publication of newspapers,. 
&:c., within the settlement of Fort William." The rule com- 
menced as follows : — 

" Whereas articles tending to bring the Government of 
this country as by law established, into harted and contempt, 
and to disturb the peace, harmony, and good order of society^ 
have of late been frequently printed and circulated in 
newspapers and other papers published in Calcutta, for 
the prevention whereof it is deemed expedient to regulate 
by law the printings and publication ^vithin the settlement 
of Fort Willian, in Bengal, of newspapers, and of all maga- 
zines, registers, pamphlets and other printed books and 
papers, in any language or character published periodicallv, 
containing or purporting to contain public news and intelli- 
gence, or strictures on the acts, measures and proceedings 
of Government or any political events or translations 
whatsoever, Sec." 

On its being read Mr. Fergusson. on behalf of the 
principal proprietor of the Calcutta Journal opposed its 
registration as being " repugnant to the laws of the realm."" 
On the 21st March the arguments of the learned counsil 
were heard. Sir Francis Macnaghten was the presiding 
judge. After the merits and demerits of the Governor- 
General's order had been gone into by the Government 
advocate, as well as the opposing coimsel, the judge gave a 
lengthy opinion on the question. 


Here is the only important part which adverts to the 
liberty of the Press : — " It appears to me to be assumed in 
the argument that Calcutta is as free a land as England. 
Whether it be advisible for the liberties of England, or for 
the inhabitants of Calcutta, to grant a free constitution to 
India, I shall never enquire, but I shall always rejoice at the 
spread of liberty. I knoAV that many are of opinion that 
India is a proper country for the introduction of the same 
liberties as those enjoyed by Englishmen at home, but I 
also know that others are of quite a different opinion. 

Among these Sir William Jones, a zealous and ardent 
lover of liberty, is one ; and says that the introduction of 
liberty into India would be worse than the most odious 
tyranny. If we are to have a free constitution in India, I 
shall be glad if any one who can do so, will tell me upon 
what principle we can found our right to it. I must own I 
do not know the text or the comment. I confess I am at a 
loss whence the idea, that a British subject or any one else 
has a right to the liberties of England in this country, has 
arisen. I really know of no place where there is more 
rational liberty than in Calcutta. Industry is encouraged 
here, and I never knew an individual who had any claim to 
it, complain of a want of patronage and attention. I never 
was in any society, where individuals were more free, and 
fearless, and fearless they may well be, where they have 
nothing to fear in the expression of their sentiments. I say 
that a free press coming into contact with such a Govern- 
ment as this is, is quite inconsistent and incompatible, and 
they cannot stand together. What have been the conse- 
quences of Mr. Buckingham's transmission. A gentleman 
has come forward, has taken the charge of the paper and 
has told the Government that they cannot send him out 
of the country, do what he will. But may not a rule be 
established to meet such a case ? It is very true he cannot 
be sent out of the country, but where is the re- 
pugnance to the British law ? I repeat that this Govern- 
ment and a Free Press are incompatible and cannot 
be consistent." 

It was then ordained that no such printed paper. See, 
should be allowed without a license. And that all offences 



against this rule should be visited by heavy penalties, and 

On the 6th November of the same year, 1823, the full 
effect of the above rule was brought to bear upon the pub- 
lishers of the Calcutta Journal and its Sunday supplement, 
the license for the publication of which was revoked and 

Mr. Buckingham was brought into court, by the ordi- 
nary legal process, to answer for a libel on the six secretaries. 
Those individuals were perfectly right in bringing their 
action, if they thought that they had been slandered. A 
different course was pursed under Mr. Adam's administra- 
tion, which followed. 

Mr. Buckingham was banished ; and the licensing 
system was established, and the decree for that purpose 
registered in the Supreme Court. Thus then the matter 
stood : — -At Madras, the Marquis Wellesley's censorship 
still prevailed ; at Bombay, the press remained in the same 
state as that in which it existed during the administration 
of the Marquis of Hastings : that is to say, properly speak- 
ing, there were no precise restrains on the press ; while, at 
Calcutta, the licensing system was adopted. 

The Supreme Court of Justice at Bombay complained 
of the Bombay Gazette, for having miscolored, garbled, and 
misrepresented the proceedings of the court. It appeared 
that Mr. Warden, the chief secretary to the Government, 
was the proprietor of the Bombay Gazette, though the nomi- 
nal owner and editor was a Mr. Fair. The Bombay Govern- 
ment was irritated at this, and they felt themselves obliged 
to send home Mr. Fair, on account of those miscolored 
statements. Mr. Warden, himself a member of the (iovern- 
ment, garbled the proceedings of the Supreme Court, and 
the Government selected Mr. Fair, a man of straw, as the 
scapegoat and sent him home. Subsequently, Sir E. W^est 
compelled the editors to register their names. 

The proceeding was much objected to by the Govern- 
ment of Bombay, but was at last legally enforced, and the 
Court of Directors acquiesced in that measure. They went 
one step further. They prevented any servant of the 
Government from writing in newspapers, or from embark- 


ing property in such a speculation. On the 10th of July, 
1826, the Supreme Court of Justice at Bombay were called 
■on to register the Bengal regulations. This they refused to 
do ; and all the three judges pronounced it to be unlawful 
and inexpedient. 

Under a free press such as formerly existed in Bengal, 
it was necessary in the first place to obtain a license, to 
enable an individual to reside in India ; it was exceedingly 
difficult to procure this, because the spirit of the Company's 
government was opposed to colonization. 

In the second place, if the individual intended to set 
up a newspaper, he must possess very considerable capital ; 
for that purpose, six, eight or ten thousand pounds were 

In the third place, they must be aware, that the editor 
of an opposition journal was frowned on by the Government, 
and therefore where everything was rewarded by patronage, 
he could not expect to obtain any situation of emolument. 

Fourthly, the editor was subject to all the laws, with 
respect to the press, that were in force in England, and he 
might, after a second conviction, be banished, under the 
provisions of the six acts. 

And fifthly, his license might, at any time, be with- 
drawn, by a sort of Star-chamber proceeding ; which, how- 
c\er, did not possess the advantages that were allowed in 
the Star-chamber, where a man was put on his defence. In 
India no trial was granted ; and several persons had been 
banished in that summary way. 

To put the matter of the deportation of Mr. Bucking- 
ham and Mr. Arnot in a clear light, we quote the following 
from a speech made by Mr. D. Kinnaird, at a meeting of a 
Court of Proprietors at the East India House in July 
1824 : — "When the honorable Proprietor came to the last 
charge, which had been made by Mr. Adam against Mr. 
Buckingham, he inveighed strongly against that transaction. 
That charge was founded on an article written by the latter 
gentleman, in ridicule of the appointment of the Rev. 
Mr. Bryce, a Presbyterian clergyman, to the situation of 
Clerk to the Commissioners of Stationery. In consequence 
of the remarks made by Mr. Buckingham on that occasion. 


he received a letter from the secretary to Government, 
ordering Mr. Buckingham immediately to leave the settle- 
ment and to proceed to Europe ; as if the safety of India 
were endangered because Mr. Buckingham, in a good- 
humoured article, laughed at the extraordinary appoint- 
ment of Mr. Bryce — an appointment which had created dis- 
gust in Scotland, and which he believed had occasioned a 
good deal of animadversion in the General Assembly there. 
But even this was little compared with the conduct of 
Lord Amherst, who had removed from that country Mr. 
Arnot, an individual connected with the Calcutta Journal. 
Mr. Arnot was not the editor of that journal but an assistant 
in the office. The situation of editor was filled after 
Mr. Buckingham left India by Mr. Sandys, a Hindoo Briton, 
or half-caste, who being a native, could not be removed. 
Lord Amherst knew this ; and, as he could not molest 
Mr. Sandys, he laid hold of Mr. Arnot, who was an English- 
man, and ordered him home. That individual went to 
Serampore. There, however, he was given up. He Avas 
shipped on board a vessel going round by way of Bencoolen, 
and not direct to England ; and in the unwholesome 
climate of Bencoolen he was obliged to remain for some 
time. It was quite evident that Mr. Arnot was selected as 
a victim to deter any other European from acting on behalf 
of Mr. Buckingham." 

It was the custom in 1824, and some previous years, 
for the Government authorities at the Post Office to require 
that all letters sent by post to the public jownials should 
have on their back the names of the persons from ^vhom 
they came, that every correspondent with the public press 
might be known. This fact we learn from a speech made 
by Mr. Hume at the India House in luly, 1842, and it is 
a very significant fact, as to the asserted liberty then given 
to the Press of India. 

Mr. Hume remarked in a speech at the India House 
in July 1824 : — "It had been asserted that Mr. Adam had 
the power of putting down journals. If this was the case, 
then why had he not put down the John Bull in the East, 
which had been filled from the day of its commencement 
with every sort of abuse that could be scraped together 


against Mr. Buckingham. Mr. B.'s journal had been put 
down, and vet the Government had not been able to point 
out a single libel in the whole of its nimibers. But the 
reason was that the John Bull was the property of the ser- 
vants of Government, and that it had been established by 
them expressly to write down the Calcutta Journal. 

Many of the influential officers in India were at its 
head, and Mr. Greenlaw was the editor, yet with all this 
power and influence they ^vere not able to destroy Mr. 
Buckingham, so at length as a final resource, they banished 

The proprietor of the Bengal Chronicle (formerly the 
Colombian Press Gazette) having fallen under the dis- 
pleasure of the Government, in consequence of some inde- 
corous remarks in that paper, prayed the lenity of the Vice- 
President and engaged to dismiss his editor, named Suther- 
land, if his license was not revoked. 

The Government agreed to the proposal, and Mr. 
Sutherland suffered for an offence which would be looked 
upon in a very different light at the present day. Mr. 
Adam succeeded him as editor, though it is asserted that 
Mr. Sutherland still continued writing for the paper and 
was considered as joint editor. 

The proprietor of the Bengal Chronicle was Rosario, 
whose name still lives in the memory of the Calcutta world, 
as the head of a long established publishing and bookselling 
firm. Mr. Adam did not long continue as editor of the 
Bengal Chronicle, but established a paper of his own under 
the title of the Calcutta Chronicle, which was published 
three times a week. 

On the 31st May, 1827, the Government suppressed 
the Calcutta Chronicle. 

The following is a copy of the official communication 
from Government : — "Mr. Wm. Adam, and Mr. Villiers 
Holcroft. proprietors of the Calcutta Chronicle. — Gentle- 
men : — The general tenor of the contents of the Calcutta 
Chronicle having been for some time past highly disrespect- 
ful to the Government and to the Honorable the Court of 
Directors, and the paper of the 29th instant in particular, 
comprising several paragraphs in direct violation of the 


regulations regarding the press, I am directed to inform 
you that the Right Hon. the Vice-President in Council iias 
resolved that the license granted to you (on the 25th Janu- 
ary last) for the printing and publishing of the Calcutta 
Chronicle be cancelled, and it is hereby cancelled accord- 
ingly from the present date. I am. Sec. C. Lushington^ 
Chief Sec. to Govt. Council Chamber, 31st May, 1827." 

The censorship at Madras seems to have been exercised 
with a strictness and severity without parallel elsewhere. 
We are repeatedly presented with long stellated blanks, 
both in the Madras Gazette and Madras Courier, indicat- 
ing the erasure of passages, the initial words of some of 
which lead us to believe that they could have contained 
nothing offensive. 

For example, in the Gazette of April 22, 1829, occurs 
this passage : — "Mr. Deaman, we find, has at last been 
honoured with a silk gown, in terms very flattering" — (then 
follows a quarter of a column of stars.) The same paper 
of a different date, contains the beginning of some remarks 
upon a Calcutta work : — "In the Asiatic Journal for Octo- 
ber is a letter on the subject of the new Atlas of India, a 
work projected on a large scale, particularly as applied to 
Southern India ; the maps of which, being on a scale of one 
mile to four inches, are drawn by the late Captain Mount- 
ford, than whom it could have devolved upon a more 
efficient person. To the most correct judgment he added 
the most accurate delineation and finest pencil possible to 
imagine. He excelled in whatever he undertook in the 
department to Avhich he belonged." (Then follows a chasm 
of about the same length as the other). In the Courier of 
the 20th March, 1829, appears an entire column of stars ; 
the title of one of the blanks is "Calcutta" showing that the 
expunged passage must be an extract from a newspaper of 
that presidency. 

A Courier of a subsequent date exhibits no less than 
five starred columns ! A passage, expunged by the censor 
from a Madras paper some time previous found its '^vay into 
one of the Calcutta journals, and turned out to be a stric- 
ture, we may venture to say, perfectly harmless, upon Mr. 
Huskisson ! These frequent exertions of a very delicate 


and invidious discretionary power, attracted much notice, 
and provoked some severe animadversions, at the neigh- 
bouring presidency. 

In 1825 Sir Charles Metcalfe first declared that the 
spread of knowledge in India was of too paramount import- 
tance to be obstructed for any temporary or selfish purpose. 
"I am inclined," said he then, "to think, that I would 
let it ha\'e its swing, if I were sovereign lord and master." 
Five years later saw him a member of the Supreme Coun- 
cil, and able to begin the battle in earnest with a minute, 
the words of which are singularly significant at present : — 
"Admitting that the liberty of the press, like other 
liberties of the subject, may be suspended when the safety 
of the State requires such a sacrifice, I cannot as a conse- 
quence acknowledge that the present instance ought to be 
made an exception to the usual practice of the Govern- 
ment ; for if there were danger to the State either way, 
there would be more, I should think, in suppressing the 
publication of the opinions, than in keeping the valve open 
by which bad humours might evaporate. To prevent men 
from thinking and feeling is impossible, and I believe it to 
be wiser to let them give vent to their temporary anger in 
anonymous letters in the newspapers, the writers of which 
letters remain unknown, than to make that anger perma- 
nent, by forcing them to smother it within their own breasts, 
ever ready to burst out. It is no more necessary to take 
notice of such letters now than it was before. The Gov- 
ernment which interferes at its pleasure with the press, be- 
comes responsible for all that it permits to be published." 
In January 1835, Lord William Bentinck received a 
petition from the people of Calcutta calling on him to re- 
peal the old press regulations. But he returned to Eng- 
land before the petition was discussed, and Sir Charles 
Metcalfe was temporarily appointed head of the Supreme 
Council. "Sovereign lord and master," at last, he saw his 
opportunity, and saw. too, that it would not last long. 

With the help of Macaulay, fresh then from penning 
a panegyric on Milton, the father of a Free Press in Eng- 
land, he was able to publish the draft of his famous Act 
by the April of this same year. The Calcutta memorialists 


at once held a meeting and voted an enthusiastic address to 
Sir Charles Metcalfe, "Liberator of the Indian Press." The 
address he answered with straightforward honesty and 
earnestness, and with such freedom of utterance as must 
have shocked the conventional reserve and exclusiveness of 
Indian statesmanship. But the words well benefitted a 
manifesto invoked by the public expression of gratitude 
and approbation. 

The new press regulation, though introduced in the 
spring, did not come into operation until the autumn, which 
proves that legislation was really a work of thought and 
consideration in those days ; and the freedom of the Indian 
Press dated from the 15th September, 1835. "It was a 
great day," says Sir John Kaye, "which the people of Cal- 
cutta were eager to celebrate. So they subscribed together, 
and they erected a noble building on the banks of the 
Hooghly to contain a public library, and to be applied to 
other enlightening purposes, and they called it the Metcalfe 
Hall. It was to bear an inscription declaring that the press 
of India was liberated on the 15th September, 1835, by 
Sir Charles Metcalfe, and the bust of the Liberator was to 
be enclosed in the building." 

Fugitive Notices of the Press 

The following official announcement states that the 
Calcutta Gazette and Oriental Advertiser, which was start- 
ed in 1784, was to be considered an official organ of all ad- 
vertisements of the Government, the editorial management 
not being considered official : — "The Honorable the Gov- 
ernor-General and Council having permitted Mr. Francis 
Gladwin to publish a Gazette under their sanction and 
authority, the heads of offices are hereby required to issue 
all such advertisements or publications as may be ordered 
on the part of the Honorable Company, through the chan- 
nel of his paper. W. Bruere, Secretary. Fort William, 
9th February, 1784." 

The following advertisements we shall string together ; 
they are taken from the papers of 1793 : — 

"A Masquerade," to be held on the 16th February at 
the Calcutta Theatre. Tickets at 20 rupees each. 

"Narrative of the sufferings of James Bristow, belong- 


ing to the Bengal Artillery, during ten year's captivity with 
Hyder Ally and Tippoo Saheb." 

"Canary Birds," for sale at Serampore, by Mr. Meyer : 
two pair of very beautiful canary birds, which sing remark- 
ably fine. Price 60 rupees per pair. 

"Raja Camarupa ; an Indian tale, translated from the 
Persian, with notes, critical and explanatory, by Lieutenant 
William Francklin, and dedicated to Sir William Jones." 
Price of each copy, two gold mohurs. 

To give our readers some idea as to the cost of books 
in 1821, we note the following prices of a few works then 
considered new, taken from an advertisement of Mr. Char- 
les Wiltshire, a tradesman at Colvin's Ghaut : — Blair's 
Sermons, 5 vols., 8vo., 50 rupees ; Shakespeare's Hindos- 
tanee Grammar, Dictionary and Selections, 4 vols., 4t., 160 
rupees ; Scott's Bible, 4 vols., 4vo., 128 rupees ; Whiston's 
Josephus, 4 vols., 8vo., 48 rupees ; Kimpton's History of the 
Bible, folio, 50 rupees ; Hewlett's Bible, 3 vols., 4to., 250 
rupees ; Dodd's Bible, folio, 3 vols., 27 rupees ; Dr. Issac 
W^atts' Works. 6 vols., 4to., 200 rupees ; Doddridge's Rise 
and Progress, 8vo., 10 rupees. 

From Mr. Thacker's Catalogue. No. 249, opposite St. 
Andrew's Church, we take the following sale prices for some 
well known works : — Gibbon's Decline and Fall, 12 vols., 
8vo., 80 rupees ; Hume's and Smollett's History of England, 
21 vols., 12mo., 56 rupees ; Pinkerton's Geography, 2 vols., 
4to., 80 rupees ; Meninski's Arabic, Persian and Turkish 
Lexicon, 4 vols., folio 136 rupees. 

In a Government Gazette of the 31st May, 1821, we 
observe an advertisement of Muddoosoodun Mookerjee's 
Oriental Library, opposite St. Andrew's Church, corner of 
Tank Square. This bookselling concern continued in 
existence till within a few years ago. 

In May 1821, Messrs. Samuel Greenway and Co. an- 
nounce that they have admitted Mr. Samuel Smith into 
partnership in the "Bengal Hurkaru Newspaper and 
Library, Printing, Stationery and Bookselling concerns," 
and that the firm would henceforth be Greenway and 

The order of Government forbidding civilians or mili- 


tary men corresponding with the Press was to every intent 
and purpose, a perfect farce and dead letter. 

Mr. Lang tells us that on the staff of the MofussiUte, 
Avhich was published at Meerut in 1847 and for se\'eral 
years afterwards, were several gentlemen belonging to each 
branch of the service. These gentlemen not only wrote, 
but some of them wrote for pay ; and their connection with 
the press was well known by those at the head of Govern- 

Major Thomas, who was killed in the field, was vir- 
tually the editor of the Mofussilite. H. B. Edwardes, of 
the Fusiliers, was the "Brahminee Bull" of the Delhi 
Gazette. Mr. Campbell, of the Civil Service, was the 
"Delator" of the Mofussilite. 

A series of military articles written in the last named 
paper attracted the attention of Sir Charles Napier — they 
came from the pen of General (then Major) Mansfield, 
afterwards Commander-in-Chief in India. In all these ins- 
tances the writers were not silenced, but received staff ap- 

On the surrender of the fortress of Agra to the British 
Army, under the command of Lord Lake, in the year 1803, 
the magazines and vaults were pointed out by some of the 
old residents of the place, and the massive and iron bound 
doors were soon made to gi\e way to the efforts of the 
soldiery, who very soon emptied them of every thing which 
was portable. 

In the evening of the day which saw this scene of con- 
fusion, Lieutenant Mathews of the Artillery went to \iew 
the interior of the fortress. Passing one of the vaults which 
had shortly before been plundered, he entered, and the 
first object which attracted his eye was a machine ^v'hich to 
him appeared to be a Etiropean mangle. On closer ins- 
pection, however, he discovered it to be a printing press, 
and what was the more extraordinary, having the types, 
ready set for some Oriental production. 

Major Yule of the Bengal Army hearing of this, was 
anxious to know what the work was, which was most pro- 
bably the very first that had been attempted to be printed 
in Hindustan, and that too under the auspices of the head 



of the empire. Means were at once attempted to pull a 
proof sheet of the form ; this Avas done under manifold dis- 
advantages, and the sheet disclosed six pages of the Koran. 
The face of the type was excellent, and it is a pity that the 
press with its type were not preserved ; but the ruthless 
soldiers pulled the Avhole machine to pieces and destroyed 
the types. This information is obtained from the Asiatic 
Journal for 1861. 



The English press of the Upper Provinces dates as far 
back as 1822 ; and the Indian press we believe is of consi- 
derably shorter existence. Both European and Indian 
have, however, within this period risen to such importance 
in the statistics of India, that we think a brief sketch of 
the past and present state of the European press in those 
provinces will not be uninteresting. 

The first printing press set up was at Cawnpore by Mr. 
Samuel Greenway, who was succeeded by his son. Mr. W. 
Greenway, in 1822. 

The Cawnpore Advertiser was published there. Sub- 
sequently, in 1828, another newspaper was attempted at 
this press under the title of the Oinnibus, but it lived only 
through a few numbers. It was a small and not very 
sightly quarto sheet, and from the first gave no promise of 
protracted existence. 

The Calcutta papers were then the only organs of in- 
telligence in the Upper Provinces, and heavy as were the 
rates of subscription and postage, there were few persons 
Avho did not contrive to see some one of the daily papers. 
Politics and Home news were then discussed and comment- 
ed on with a gieat deal more earnestness than they are at 
the present day, notwithstanding that the news was six or 
seven months old : increased rate of transit seems to have 
affected the public taste the contrary way, and European 
intelligence at the present day holds but a secondary place 
in the minds of the European commimity, while the import- 
ance of events in India during the last forty-five years have 
forced into greater notice local subjects obtained for it. 
what it should always have occupied, the primary place of 
interest in the minds of the governing body. 

An offshoot from the Cawnpore press was established 
at Meerut in 1830. and in 1831 the Meerut Observer was 
published at that press. This journal had for some time 


previously, (from 1827 we believe) been carried on in 
manuscript. It was edited by Capt. H. Tuckett, of the llth 
Light Dragoons ; he was assisted by Capt. N. Campbell of 
the Horse Artillery, who wrote nearly all the articles on 
military affairs which appeared in that spirited little jour- 

The military measures of Lord Wm. Bentinck were 
keenly opposed in Capt. Campbell's articles, and though 
seemingly unnoticed for a time by the head of the Govern- 
ment, an opportunity which presented itself afterwards was 
seized, whereby the arm of power was wielded, and Capt. 
Campbell felt its blow. For a dispute with his command- 
ing officer, for which, though in the wrong, he would have 
been amply punished by a reprimand, Capt. Campbell was 
removed from his troop. 

The world saw and judged the cause. Subsequently 
the Observer was edited by Lieut. Hutchins, Mr. Whiff en 
and others. It afterwards fell into the hands of Mr. H. 
Cope, then a man of great promise, and subsequently, the 
editor of the Delhi Gazette and still later of the Lahore 
Chronicle. The press also changed proprietorship and be- 
came the property of Mr. Cope. The Meerut Universal 
Magazine, or as it was familiarly called Mum, was com- 
menced at the Observer press in 1835. It was a monthly 
magazine, and spiritedly conducted for some time, but 
ceased to exist in 1837. Mr. Lang afterwards endeavoured 
to resuscitate the magazine, but after two attempts aban- 
doned the imdertaking. 

Colonel (then Capt.) Pew, Dr. Ranken and Mr. John 
Taylor, all residents of Delhi, joined by a few European 
and Indian gentlemen, considered the imperial localitv 
quite as likely to afford profitable work, and extensive cir- 
culation to a paper as Meerut and Agra, and soon after the 
birth of the Agra Ukbar, the Delhi Gazette was ushered 
into the world, in 1833. It remained for several years in a 
fluctuating condition, edited alternately by Capt. Pew, Mr. 
Rollings, and Col. R. Wilson, then of the Palace Guards, 
and others ; when the Afghanistan campaign gave it an 
impetus as rapid as it was profitable, and by the commence- 
ment of the year 1866, under the editorial management of 


Mr. Cope, it had attained as a half weekly a circulation of 
1892, exceeding that of any other paper in India. 

Besides the presses at Cawnpore and Meerut Mr. W. 
Greenway had an establishment at Agra (in 1838) where 
he set up a paper, called Greenway's Agra Journal, which 
was very respectably conducted for the time it lasted. This 
press was also employed in the publication of vernacular 
school books in the Hindoostanee language. 

The sensation caused by the appearance of the Meerut 
Observer induced Dr. John Henderson to start a press at 
Agra in 1831, whence issued the first number of the Agra 
Ukbar in 1832, as a native paper in the Persian character ; 
his chief object being to give a correct report of the cases 
tried in the civil and criminal courts. 

A few month's trial showed that the experiment was 
not likely to succeed ; but he Avas not a man to be put down 
by trifles, and so he converted the paper into an English 
one in November of that year. Its exterior was poor in- 
deed, and until Mr. Henry Tandy became editor, it was 
in rather a sickly state. The talents and wit of that gentle- 
man soon gave it a place among the leading journals of 
India, and he was moreover well supported by the members 
of the civil service in all parts of the country. His death 
in 1850 was the signal for the decline of the paper. Two 
relations of his, Messrs. A. and P. Saunders, succeeded him 
in the editorial chair ; but both soon followed him to the 
grave ; neither of them possessed a tithe of the talent of 
Mr. Tandy. The press was then sold to Mr. Grisenthwaite. 

Blunders, actions for libel and other tokens of a sink- 
ing journal at last wrecked the Ukbar, and the entire estab- 
lishment fell into the possession of the Agra and U. S. Bank, 
to whom the proprietors were at the time under pecuniary 
obligations. Capt. MacGregor, the secretary, ever energe- 
tic and active where the interests of his employers were 
concerned, would not alloAv the press to remain unprofitable, 
and brought out the Agra Chronicle, which he kept alive 
till the press was purchased by the proprietor of the Delhi 
Gazette ; the Agra Messenger published by the press under 
the editorial management of Mr. Mawson at the Agra press, 
was not an indifferent substitute for the well conducted 


Agra Ukbar ; it however flourished as a branch paper of 
the Delhi Gazette till the mutiny of 1857, when on the 
destruction of the materials of the Delhi Gazette press at 
Delhi, it took the name of the Delhi paper. The press 
was removed to Delhi in 1859, and subsequently to Agra, 
where it continued to be published. 

In 1850 or '51, a magazine of great promise under the 
title of Saunders' Magazine was started at Delhi at the 
Gazette press ; it had an existence of about two years. Men 
of great talent were liberally paid to be contributors to its 
pages, but notwithstanding it was found an unprofitable 
concern and was discontinued. 

At the same time but at a different station, Agra, 
Ladlie's Miscellany sprang up, and soon obtained great 
excellence and support. This magazine after^vards passed 
into the hands of Mr, Gibbons of the Mofussiiite press, and 
after a short existence was discontinued. 

At Delhi besides the Gazette there was printed for 
5ome time before the mutiny and afterwards till about 1865, 
a monthly journal under the name of the Delhi Sketch 
Book, changed afterwards to the Delhi Punch, under the 
parentage of Mr. Wagentreiber. This as its name denoted 
"was a humorous publication. It possessed much merit, the 
ilkistrations were good, though its letter-press was in- 

Besides the Messenger there was a press in the vicinity 
of Agra. Tv^hich rose out of the anxious wish of the mission- 
aries of the Church Mission to make the Secimdra Orphan 
School useftil to the public as well as to its inmates. It was 
started under the management of Mr. W. Greenway. The 
establishment Avas soon, owing to the imremitting care of 
its missionarv managers, in a flourishing condition, and 
was extensively patronised by the Government of the N. W. 
Provinces. Mr. Longden was then Superintendent. 

The Agra Government Gazette, the reports of the sud- 
der and zillah courts, and in fact all the Government work 
was done at the Secundra press. During the mutiny this 
press was destroyed by the mutineers. It was however re- 
suscitated at Allahabad in 1858 under Government patron- 
age, and subsequently transferred to the Government. It 


is now called the official press and all the Government work 
is done at it. The operations of this press are very exten- 
sive and embrace type-casting, stereotyping, binding and 
machine printing. 

At Agra, previous to the mutiny, a religious monthly 
paper was published under the title of the Secundra Mes- 
senger. This was for a time extinguished during the stir- 
ring events of 1857, but was revived at Lahore in 1861. 

After the removal of the Observer press, Meerut conti- 
nued "benighted" for a period of several years, when Mr. 
Lang established the Mofussilite press on an extensive scale 
in 1846. The Mofussilite had been started in Calcutta as 
a literary weekly paper and had gained considerable fa\or 
with the public as a journal of great merit and capacity. 
It began its career in the mofussil just previous to a time 
of great excitement and interest, when the existing journals 
of the N. W. Provinces were clutched at (we cannot use a 
better word) with avidity by all classes of readers, in con- 
sequence of the important intelligence they contained re- 
garding Afghanistan, Persia, Scinde and particularly the 
Punjab. This last mentioned portion of India was then 
on the eve of a revolution, and its approach was looked 
upon by all as inevitable. 

The Mofussilite was started as a newspaper of the same 
size as the Delhi Gazette, and the ability and vivacity which 
were displayed in the writings of the editor, soon placed 
his journal high in the scale of mofussil journalism. The 
press was removed to Agra in 1853 or 1854, where it conti- 
nued till 1860, when it returned to its original station at 
Meerut. Throughout the mutiny the Mofussilite was pub- 
lished in the Agra Fort and was an useful organ for dis- 
seminating official information. Since Mr. Lang's death, 
and even for some time before, the journal had lost 
a great deal of its former vigor and respectability. 
It was afterwards purchased by the proprietors of the 
Civil and Military Gazette, and was merged in that 


At Meerut, in addition to the Mofussilite, there was 
started in 1840 an advertising medium under the title of 
the Delhi Advertiser. This was afterwards in 1852 enlarg- 


ed and made into a newspaper by its proprietor, Mr. Cop- 
ping of the Delhi Bank. 

In the following year it was still further enlarged and 
became the Indian Times, and Avas printed till 1856 when 
the press was seized and sold. From its ruins Mr. David, 
the enterprizing dawk-gharrie proprietor, raised a job press 
which continued in active operation till the proprietor's 

At Allahabad Messrs. Greenway had a branch of the 
Cawnpore establishment, Vv'hich was opened for business in 
1836. From this press was issued the Central Free Press 
journal, the career of which was suddenly brought to a 
close by the entire destruction by fire of the press bunglow 
in 1837. 

The American Presbyterian missionaries have been 
most active in extending the advantages of printing estab- 
lishments in the upper provinces. They had extensive pres- 
ses at Mirzapore, Allahabad, and Loodiana. 

The last named press which had been established in 
September 1836, was destroyed by fire in 1847. but speedily 
placed on an efficient footing by the liberality chiefly of the 
British public. 

During the mutiny it again suffered ; some of the 
rabble managed to break in and destroy a great portion of 
the material, which was however replaced by a fine inflicted 
by the officials on the destroyers. At the second named 
station. Allahabad, the missionaries established a press in 
1839, and went so far as to add type-founding to their other 
operations. They devoted their exertions chiefly to the 
printing of works required by them in their sacred vocation, 
and have done much towards fixing the character of Hindee, 
Goormookhee, and Davanagree letters. This press was par- 
tially destroyed by the mutineers in 1857; it 
has since been resuscitated and made over to some 
native converts, to be worked by them for the 
benefit of the mission. 

At Mirzapore the Church Missionary Society have a 
press for the work of the mission. At this press is pub- 
lished a small monthly newspaper called the Khwar-i-Hind 
or Friend of India, in English and Romanized Hindi. The 



journal has generally an illustration of some missionary sub- 
ject, or a portrait of an Indian celebrity. 

In 1847 or 1848 Colonel Pew, and some others interest- 
ed in the local bank, established a press at Benares, and 
started a newspaper called the Benares Recorder. The 
paper was continued about two years, but could never be 
said to be in a flourishing condition. 

At Benares, after the dissolution of the Recorder press. 
Dr. Lazarus opened a small press in 1849, principally for 
printing the labels of his Medical Hail. By degrees this 
press extended its operations ; till now it is one of the com- 
pletest of English and vernacular presses in India. It has 
stereotyping, type-founding, binding, ruling and machine 

In 1848 the Mirzapore press published a magazine with 
the title of the Benares Magazine, under the editorial 
management of some of the missionaries of the Church 
Mission and of Dr. Ballantyne, then the Principal of the 
College. This publication was discontinued in 1849. 

The Hills used to boast of three presses. One was 
established by Mr. Mackinnon of the Brewery at Mussoorie, 
in 1859 or 1860. From this press issued a weekly paper 
called The Hills, conducted for some time by Capt. Begbie, 
and then by Mr. Mackinon, Junior. 

In consequence of the demise of the latter gentleman, 
the press was sold to Mr. G. B. Taylor, who carried on the 
paper for some time, but it was eventually given up. At 
Simla Dr. McGregor established a press, and published a 
weekly paper in 1849 called the Mountain Monitor, which 
lived but a short time and did little credit to its parent. 
That gentleman also tried a medical and literary periodi- 
cal, which ran on an irregular course for a few numbers, 
and of which little can be said that is favorable. This 
press was afterwards, in 1850, sold to the Lawrence Asylum 
at Sonawar, and is now employed to teach the lads of that 
refuge the rudiments of printing. 

Another press was started at Simla under the direc- 
tion of Mr. Charde, at which the Simla Advertiser in Eng- 
lish, and the Simla News in Ordoo and English, were pub- 
lished. Besides this there have been two or three attempts 


to Start a good newspaper ; one by Mr. Jephson in 1853, 
when the Military Gazette appeared, but this only existed a 
very short time. Mr. Moor in 1863 brought out the Him- 
malayan Star, which also had but a short existence. 

The present Thomason College Press at Roorkee was 
commenced at Meerut in 1848 ; it was afterwards removed 
to Simla, and employed in printing the results obtained at 
the Magnetic Observatory there. In 1850 it was taken to 
Umballa, where it continued till January, 1852, when it 
was transferred to the college. It is a Government press, 
and its work consists chiefly of elementary and other works 
in connection with the college and the Government. It 
has a department for lithography, and also one for wood 
engraving, and some of the finest specimens of work in 
each of these branches are produced at this press. 

Education in its Infancy 

Let us turn to a spot, now much changed from its 
pristine desolate appearance, and long known by the 
name of Cooly Bazar. The pretty church, and the little 
white mansions, which no^v^ adorn the spot, were not then 
(in the latter part of the last century) to be seen. Small 
bungalows, like so many mounds of straw, broke the level 
prospect of the situation, and were the habitations of in- 
valid soldiers, who had fought at Seringapatam, or helped 
to drive the enemy from the plains of Plassey. Living upon 
a rupee a day, these old pensioners smoked and walked, and 
slept their time away. One more learned, perchance, than 
the rest opened a school and while the modest widow taught 
but the elements of knowledge in the barracks of Fort 
\Villiam, the more ambitious pensioner proposed to take 
them higher up the hill of learning. 

"Let us contemplate him seated in an old fashioned 
chair with his legs" (we are quoting the words of a writer 
in the Calcutta Review) "resting on a cane morah. A long 
pipe, his most constant companion, projects from his mouth. 
A pair of loose pyjamahs and a charkanah banian keep him 
within the pale of society and preserve him cool in the try- 
ing hot season of this climate. A rattan — his sceptre — is in 
his hand ; and the boys are seated on stools, or little morahs, 
before his pedagogue majesty. They have already read 
three chapters of the Bible, and have got over the proper 
names without much spelling ; they have written their 
copies — small, round, text and large hands ; they have re- 
peated a column of Entick's Dictionary with only two mis- 
takes ; and are now employed in working Compound Divi- 
sion, and soon expect to arrive at the Rule of Three. Some 
of the lads' eyes are red with weeping, and others expect 
to have a taste of the ferula. The partner of the pensioner's 


days is seated on a low Dinapore malronly chair, picking 
\egetables, and preparing the ingredients for the coming 
dinner. It strikes 12 o'clock ; and the schoolmaster shakes 
himself. Presently the boys bestir themselves ; and for the 
day the school is broken up." 

Such were the schools which soon after the establish- 
ment of British supremacy in the, East, were formed for 
the instruction of youth of both sexes. They were looked 
upon simply as sources of revenue, and hence every indi- 
\idual in straitened circumstances — the broken-down sol- 
dier, the bankrupt merchant and the ruined spendthrift — 
set up a day school, which might serve as a kind of corps 
de reserve, until something better turned up. 

As British supremacy began to extend, and the increas- 
ing demands of war and commerce caused an influx of 
Europeans into this land, greater efforts and on a larger 
scale, Avere made to extend the benefits of education and 
to elevate its tone. 

Private Schools 

In consequence of the increased demand for educa- 
tion, many enterprizing individuals began to feel that 
schools would make capital speculations. 

Mr. Archer was the first to establish a school for boys 
before the year 1800. His great success attracted others 
to the same field ; and two institutions speedily took the 
lead — Mr. Farrell's Seminary, and the Durrumtiollalhl 
Academy, conducted by Mr. Drummond. 

There was also a school conducted by Mr. Halifax, 
another by Mr. Lindstedt and a third by Mr. Draper. 
Annual examinations were first held by Mr. Drummond, 
and the first examination of this kind gave the death-blow 
to the rival seminary of Mr. Farrell's. 

Besides the institutions which we have already men- 
tioned there was one by the Rev. Dr. Yates for boys, and 
another by Mrs. Lawson for girls. The earliest school for 
young ladies was that of Mrs. Pitts ; and soon after many 
others were established, which Mrs. Durrell's semi- 
nary enjoyed the most extensive support. 

In April 1792, Mrs. Copeland started a young ladies' 
school in "the house nearly opposite to Mr. Nicholas 


Charles' Europe Shop, where she proposes boarding and 
educating young ladies in reading, writing and needle- 

We learn from an advertisement of Mr. George Furly, 
on the 23rd May, 1793, who was about to establish an 
"academy" "on the Burying Ground Road," where the rates 
for education were at that time : — First class Rs. 30 per 
month for board, lodging and education. Second class Rs. 
40. Third class Rs. 64. 

"Academy. — The Reverend Mr. Holmes proposes open- 
ing an academy in Calcutta, for the instruction of youth, in 
the different branches of useful education. No. 74, Cossy- 
tullah Street. 16th December, 1795." 

"W. Gaynard, Accountant, begs leave to inform the 
Public, that he intends to open an Academy, at his house. 
No. 1 1 , Meredith's Buildings, for a few young gentlemen 
of the age of fourteen or upwards, (who may be intended 
for the mercantile line of life) — to instruct them in a per- 
fect knowledge of Decimal Calculations, also to complete 
their education in the Italian method of Book-keeping, by 
a process, using the weights, measures and coins of the 
different markets of India. For particulars enquire of W. 
Gaynard, at his house aforesaid. Accounts and estates of 
co-partnership adjusted and settled as usual." (1795). 

On the 1st May, 1800, a school was opened at the 
Mission House, Serampore ; terms for boarders, 30 Rupees 
per month, with tuition in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Persian 
or Sanskrit Rs. 35. "Particular attention will be paid to 
the correct pronunciation of the English language. A Per- 
sian and Sanskrit Munshi will be employed. Letters 
addressed to Mr. Carey, will be immediately attended to." 
This is the first intimation we have in the Calcutta papers 
of the location of the Baptist Missionaries at the Danish 
settlement of Serampore. 

Here is the first instance that we have found of the 
establishment of a school, for the instruction of European 
children, in the upper provinces. Mrs. Middleton adver- 
tises on the 21st March, 1799, "having taken a house in 
an airy, healthy and agreeable situation at Dinapore," 
^vhere she purposed "keeping a school for the tuition of 


such young gentlemen and ladies as parents and guardians 
may think proper to commit to her charge." Her charges 
were two gold mohurs per month for boarders, and eight 
rupees for day scholars. 

[Advt.] "John Stansberrow begs leave to inform the 
Public in general, that he proposes keeping a school for 
the purpose of educating children, male and female, upon 
the most reasonable terms. He will instruct them in read- 
ing, writing, and arithmetic. The girls will be taught 
needle-work and lacemaking. The terms are as follows : — 
For boys, per month ... ... Rs. 25 

For girls. ditto ... ... „ 30 

For day scholars ... ... ,,16 

"He lives in a commodious garden at Mirzapoor, near 
Colonel Hampton's gardens. As he means to pay the 
greatest attention and pains to their education and good 
morals, he will only take 12 boys and 12 girls, and flatters 
himself that he will give satisfaction to the parents and 
guardians of such children as he may be favored with the 
charge of." 

Mr. Thornhill advertises (in 1802) that "encouraged 
by the liberal and increasing patronage of the public" to 
his academy, he had taken the house and garden in Durrum- 
tollah Street lately occupied by H. T. Travers, Esq., which 
from its size and situation is particularly well suited for the 
purpose of an academy." We believe this was the same 
building as that in which Mr. Drummond so long had his 
school, and the compound of which is now a bazar. 

Mr. L. Schnabel advertises (1802) that he "will give 
instructions on the pianoforte, at the moderate rate of fifty 
rupees per month." 

Charles Lewis Vogel set up, in 1803, a school at Chin- 
surah, for the education of children of both sexes, the girls 
being under the care of Mrs. Vogel. The terms were very 
moderate for those times. For general education Rs. 25 ; 
with clothes, medicine, Sec, Rs. 35 ; for instruction 
in Persian 8 Rs. extra, and dancing 10 Rs. extra per month. 
We find in a notice of sale in 1809, a house in Great 
Durrumtollah Road, that it ^v^s situated opposite to "Mr. 
Statham's Academy." This gentleman afterwards removed 


his school to Howrah, where it was long the scholastic re- 
sidence of many of those who afterwards rose high in the 
services and held important posts, Mr. Statham wrote a 
work called "Reminiscences of India." 

Mr. Frederick Lindstedt, who had for some years pre- 
vious been carrying on a seminary for boys in the Circular 
Road, received a partner of the name of Mr. Ord, in 1821, 
and the school was then carried on in their joint names. 

National Institutions 

The British in Calcutta early felt the necessity of those 
institutions, which were flourishing in their native land, 
and which being the offspring of benevolence, serve in a 
great measure to alleviate distress and relieve poverty, to 
check crime and improve society. Actuated by these views, 
Major-General Kilpatrick in August 1782 circulated a pro- 
posal for the establishment of an Orphan Society, and in 
the March following the Society was formed, under the 
name of Military Orphan Society, for the maintenance of 
the children of officers dying in indigent circumstances. 
The society had two schools, the Upper and the Lower 
Orphan Schools ; the former contained the children of 
officers, the latter of soldiers. These schools were divided 
into two departments, for boys and girls respectively, and 
the education imparted was of a practical nature, designed 
to qualify the children for the situations they w^ere likely to 
occupy in India. 

The school was located first at Howrah, but about 
1790, the premises at Kidderpore were taken. The front 
or ballroom of the spacious building, which was so long the 
girls' school, calls to mind the state of society in those days, 
when European ladies were afraid to come out to India. 
The school was a sort of harbour of refuge for bachelors 
in want of wives. Balls wxre given expressly for the pur- 
pose of securing matrimonial engagements for the pupils. 
Persons in want of wives frequently made their selection 
of an evening. Officers in the upper provinces sometimes 
travelled a distance of 500 miles to obtain a wife in this 


From an account of the receipts and disbursements of 
the Upper and Lower Orphan Schools at Kidderpore, we 



learn that both the institutions, which had but just been 
housed in buildings of their own, were, in 1795, in a verv 
flourishing condition. The income of the "Officers' 
Fund," together with the previous year's balance, was 
Rs. 4,02.873-1-5, and the disbursements Rs. 3,32,033-6-6, 
^vhich included the half of the cost of the Orphan House 
and premises, and also furniture, amounting to Rs. 34,303. 
The "Soldier's Fund" showed an income, with previous 
year's balance of Rs. 1,13,688-13-7, and an expenditure of 
Rs. 56,659-10-4. 

Of the success, which attended the establishment of 
the Press attached to the Military Orphan Society, it is 
sufficient to state that on its transfer to the Government in 
1863, after half a century of operations, it had contributed, 
under the head of "Press profits," above twelve lakhs of 
rupees to the income of the Society. 

The upper school in 1846, and the lower somewhat 
later, were given up. and the few remaining children 
placed in other institutions. 

The year 1821 saw the establishment of the European 
Female Orphan Asylum, an institution which reflects the 
highest honour on the comminiity, by whom it was estab- 
lished, and on whose support it still depends. The desti- 
tute condition of the offspring of European soldiers, who 
if they fortunately escaped the dangers of infancy, were not- 
withstanding exposed to the corrupting influence of scenes 
of profligacy, attracted the kind and sympathizing notice of 
the Rev. Mr. Thomason, who appealed to the public, and 
his appeal 'was cordially responded to both by officers and 
soldiers, and the government bestowed a monthly donation 
of 200 rupees. A house and grounds in Circular Road were 
purchased for Rs. 37,000 ; and this Asylum has proved a 
blessing to the offspring of the European soldiery. 


About the year 1820 people began to be painfully con- 
vinced that private schools did not answer the great pur- 
pose of national education. New views were being enter- 
tained by individuals and a new system was required — men 
perceived the necessity of attending to the moral and reli- 
gious education of children. 


The Parental Academy, through the influence and 
exertions of Mr. John Ricketts, was established on the 1st 
March 1823. The Calcutta Grammar School was estab- 
lished in June of the same year, owing to a dispute among 
the original members of the Parental Academy committee, 
which led to a separation of efforts. On the establishment 
of these schools Mr. Drummond's Academy very sensibly 
declined ; until it was merged in the Verulam Academy, 
conducted by Mr. Masters, which was in its turn given up, 
when Mr. M. was appointed to fill the office of the head 
master of La Martiniere. To the Parental Academy must 
be given the tribute of having raised the tone of Christian 
education in Calcutta, and directed attention to the import- 
ance of the study of the History of India, and of the verna- 
culars. This institution still continues its usefulness under 
the name of the Doveton College. 

The Calcutta High School was founded on the 4th 
June, 1830 ; and under its first rector, the Rev. Mr. 
McQueen, it flourished. However it was eventually laid 
in its grave ; and on its ruins Saint Paul's School was estab- 
lished in the year 1847. 

On the 2nd April, 1821. the Armenian community 
established the Armenian Philanthropic Institution for the 
benefit of their youth. This school existed till 1849, when 
it gave place to a rival school, designated St. Sanduct's 

On the 31st March, 1830. it was determined in the 
Supreme Court that the bequests of General Martine for 
the Lucknow Charity should be devoted to the erection at 
Lucknow of an institution to be named 'Ta Martiniere.'^ 
the ground for which had been purchased three years before. 

The La Martiniere in Calcutta was founded on the 1st 
March, 1836, from the funds left by Major-General Claude 
Martine. It is both a charitable as well as public board- 
ing school. 

About the year 1834 the Roman Catholic community 
established St. Xavier's College for the tuition of their 
youth. This college flourished till the departure of the 
Jesuits in 1847. when St. John's College was founded in its 



The Free School is on the site of a house which was 
occupied by Mr. Justice Le Maitre, one of the judges in 
Impey's time. This institution was engrafted on the Old 
Charity School, founded in 1742. and settled in "the garden 
house near the Jaun Bazar, 1795." The purchase and re- 
pair of the premises cost Rs. 56.800. The public subscrip- 
tions towards the formation of the charity, amounted to 
Rs. 26,082, of which Earl Corms^allis ga^'e Rs. 2000. The 
Free School at this period (1792,) was located in "the second 
house to the south^vard of the Mission Church." 

We find in a later part of the same year a scheme put 
forth for a Free School Lottery for the benefit of the insti- 
tution. The number of children then in the school was : 
— on the foundation, males 54, females 23 ; male day 
scholars 53, female 11. Males put out as apprentices 38, 
females 1 1 . Males educated and returned to their friends, 
including day scholars, 105, females 65. 

Charitable Institutions 

About the end of the year 1747, a charity fund was 
instituted for giving board and education to indigent 
Christian children. Besides subscriptions, it enjoyed an 
endowment, which grew out of the "restitution money re- 
ceived for pulling down the English church by the Moors 
at the capture of Calcutta in 1756." To this amount was 
subsequently added a legacy of Rs. 7000 bequeathed bv Mr. 
Constantine : and this sum was still further increased by 
the public spirit of Mr. Bourchier and the liberality of the 
Government. Mr. B., afterwards Governor of Bom.bav. -^s'as 
once Master-Attendant at Calcutta ; he was a merchant and 
most successful in his pursuits. At this period there was 
no particular house in ^vhich the mavor and aldermen of 
the city could meet for the transaction of business ; to 
remedy this want, Mr. Bourchier built the Old Court 
House, w^hich was much enlarged bv several additions in 
the year 1765. He gave the building to the Company, on 
condition that Government should pav 4000 Arcot rupees 
per annum to support a charity school and for other bene- 
volent purposes. The Government consented to pav 800 
rupees per mensem to these charitable purposes. And 
when the ruinous state of the building rendered its demo- 


lition necessary, the Government continued their monthly 
grant as hitherto. 

In the lapse of time the old charity school became quite 
inadequate to the demand for education ; and in conse- 
quence of the necessity for providing instruction for the 
offspring of the poor, the Free School Society was establish- 
ed on the 21st December, 1789, and its management placed 
in the hands of a Patron (the Governor-General), the Select 
Vestry and a few other governors. 

On the 14th April, 1800, the Charity School and Free 
School Society amalgamated, and the Free School institu- 
tion was the result. — a school which may be considered as 
the parent of all educational and benevolent institutions in 
this land. 

The Baptist Missionaries early observed that in Cal- 
cutta, the children of many persons bearing the Christian 
name, were totally debarred by poverty from obtaining any 
proper education whatever, and were in a state of ignorance, 
if possible, greater than that of their Hindoo and Musul- 
man neighbours. A piece of ground was purchased and a 
school house erected in the Bow Bazar. This institution 
was called the "Benevolent Institution." Although the 
primary object of the institution was the instruction of 
destitute Christian children, it was soon found necessary to 
extend its advantages to every class ; and the children of 
Europeans, Portuguese, Armenians, Mugs, Chinese, Hin- 
doos, Musulmans, Indians of Sumatra, Mozambique and 
Abyssinia were received. 

So great was the encouragement given to the institu- 
tion, that a school for girls was added, and within two 
years after the commencement, above three hundred boys 
and a hundred girls were admitted to the benefits of the 
school. The above Institution was founded in 1819. 

Fort William College 

The scheme of the Calcutta College was conceived in 
wisdom, admirably calculated to awaken the energies of the 
young servants of the Company, who were to diffuse the 
blessings of British rule over the vast and populous pro- 
vinces of Hindostan, and to imbue their minds with sound 
and extensive knowledge, as well in the languages of the 


people they were to govern, as in the la^vs they ^vere called 
to administer. To the accomplished statesman and gifted 
scholar the Marquis Wellesley was India indebted for the 
establishment of that college. Under no administration of 
our Indian affairs was so much done for the encourage- 
ment of oriental learning among the servants of the state, 
or for its general diffusion by the publication of valuable 
works, as during the rule of that great man. An assem- 
blage of the ablest professors and teachers in every branch 
of instruction that was to be imparted, gave life and energy 
to the system. 

The College of Fort William was instituted on the 
18th August. 1800, and the first officers of the institution 
were as follows : 

Rev. Da\'id Brown, Provost. 

Rev. Claudius Buchanan, a. b.. Vice Provost. 

Professorsh ips. 

Arabic Language and Mahomedan Law, Lieutenant 

John Baillie. 

. , r Lieutenant-Colonel \V'illiam Kirk- 

, - . 6 & J Patrick. Francis Gladwin, and Neil 

and Literature. J t> • t-j . t- 

[^ Benj. Edmonstone, Esq. 

Hindustanee Language ... John Gilchrist, Esq. 

Regulations and Laws, ^c. ... Geo. Hilaro Barlow, Esq. 
Greek, Latin and English classics. Rev. Claudius Buchanan. 
The names of Colebrooke, Gladw^in, Harington, Gil- 
christ, Edmonstone, Baillie. Lockett. Lumsden, Hunter, 
Buchanan, Carey and Barlo^v. all of whom in \arious 
branches of tuition, discharged the duties of professors, will 
vouch the excellence of the instruction imparted, and the 
advantages enjoved by the students in that establishment, 
which, notwithstanding it has ceased to exist, yet continues 
its beneficial influence bv the manv standard works of 
eastern literature and education '^vhich issued formerly 
under its patronage from the press, and by the important 
sen'ices rendered by those ^vho had been trained within 
its walls. 

Lectures commenced to be delivered at the College of 
Fort Wlliam on the 24th November. 1800. in the Arabic, 
Persian and Hindostanee languages. The Public Library 


in connection with the college was also founded at the 
same time. 

On the 6th February, 1802, the anniversary of the com- 
mencement of the first term of the College of Fort William, 
the distribution of prizes and honorary rewards, adjudged 
at the second examination of 1801, took place at the col- 
lege. The Hon'ble the Acting Visitor, in the absence of 
the Most Noble the Patron and Founder of the College, 
then in a distant quarter of the British Empire in India, 
addressed the students on the occasion, and distributed the 
rewards. "The disputations" were the following : — (1) An 
academical institution in India is advantageous to the 
Indians and the British nation. (2) The Asiatics are cap- 
able of as high a degree of civilization as Europeans ; and 
(3) The Hindostanee language is the most generally usefid 
in India. 

The Government on the 8th February, 1812, resolved 
that a reward of 5000 Rupees be given to such of the Com- 
pany's Civil servants, as might after leaving the College of 
Fort William, attain a certain degree of proficiency in the 
Arabic and Sanscrit languages ; this offer was, however, 
withdrawn in a letter from the Court of Directors, dated 
22nd July, 1814, and on the 36th May, 1815, in the stead 
of pecuniary rewards it ^vas resolved to besto^v a Degree of 
Honor on any of the civil servants, who should, after leav- 
ing the College of Fort William, attain high proficiency in 
either of those languages. 

The college was abolished in 1828, and a saving of 
Rs. 1,70.000 per annum was thus effected. The young 
civilians were henceforth sent at once to their appointed 
stations, where moonshees were provided for instructing 
them in the Indian languages. 

Mission Schools 

The first school established by the clergy for the chil- 
dren of indigent Christians was that by the Rev. Mr. Kier- 
nander, on the premises of the Old or Mission Church on 
the 1st December, 1758 ; here some children were wholly 
maintained, while others were only educated. 

The first missionary school was founded in Dinajpore, 
by Dr. Carey, in 1794 ; the number of scholars in about 


three years was forty. A number of schools in. that district 
and others adjacent, were subsequently founded and main- 
tained for twenty or thirty years. By 1817, a hundred and 
fifteen schools were formed by the Baptist missionaries of 
Serampore, the greater part of which were within thirty 
miles of Calcutta, and at which above ten thousand scholars 
were instructed. 

Bishop's College was founded in 1820, by the Incor- 
porated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts at the instance of Bishop Middleton ; its object was 
to train Indian Christians for mission work. 

Through the exertions of Bishop Middleton, the boy's 
school connected with St. James' Church was established in 
the year 1823, under the auspices of the Committee of the 
Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. The girls' 
school was established in 1830, under the patronage of 
Lady Bentinck. 

The Church Missionary school was established in 1829, 
for the education of indigent Hindoo children. 

In the Government Gazette of 27th July, 1829, we see 
the prospectus of a proposed "College" in Calcutta, for the 
education of Christian youth, and in connection with the 
Church of England. 

The year 1821 was remarkable for the exertions of the 
Ladies' Society for Native Female Education in Calcutta 
and its vicinity. Miss Cooke, better known as Mrs. Wil- 
son, arrived in that year and commenced her devoted labors. 

The Central School, of which the foundation was laid 
in May 1826, was the following year completed, and Mrs. 
"Wilson, the pioneer of female education among the Indians, 
took charge of it. She had before this collected about 600 
scholars at the different schools in Calcutta. 

In the year 1830, the General Assembly's Institution 
was established by Dr. Duff, for the education of Indians ; 
and in 1837, the building which adorns the east side of 
Cornwallis square was finished. The success of this insti- 
tution has been unprecedented. It gave a tone to native 

In the year 1843, the great separation took place in the 
Church of Scotland, and Dr. Duff and his colleagues left 


the premises of the General Assembly's Institution, and 
immediately established the Free Church Institution, in 
Neemtollah, which is conducted on the same principles, 
and has been attended with the same success as the General 
Assembly's Institution. 

The Serampore College Avas founded in 1818. This 
institution was for the education of Asiatic Christian and 
other youths. 

Of Mrs. Wilson's Indian Orphan School in 1837, the 
Hon'ble Miss Eden thus writes : — "She has collected 160 
of these children ; may of them lost their parents in the 
famine some years ago ; many are deserted children. She 
showed me one little fat lump, about five years old. that 
was picked up at three months old, just as two dogs had 
begun to eat it ; the mother was starving, and had exposed 
it on the river side. She brings the children up as Chris- 
tians, and marries them to Indian converts when they are 
15 years old." 

Government Colleges 

By the Act of 53rd Geo. Ill, cap. 155. the East India 
Company was empowered to appropriate under certain con- 
ditions from the territorial revenue, the sum of a lakh of 
rupees annually "to the revival and improvement of litera- 
ture and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, 
and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of 
the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories 
in India." It does not appear, however, that the Govern- 
ment was enabled to act with special reference to this per- 
mission until several years later ; nevertheless the encoinage- 
ment of learning, though not systematically pursued, had 
not been disregarded even long before the enactment above 
quoted was passed. Mr. Hastings founded the Madrassa, 
or Mahomedan College in Calcutta in the year 1780, and in 
1794 at the recommendation of Mr. Dimcan. a college was 
endowed at Benares for the ciUtivation of Hindoo literature. 
But in the year 1811, the decav of science and literature 
among the natives of India, became the subject of the 
particular consideration of the Government, and it was then 
resolved to found two new Hindoo colleges in the districts 
of Nuddeah and Tirhoot. for the expenses of which it was 


designed to allot the annual sum of 25,000 rupees. Vari- 
ous difficulties, however, having obstructed the execution of 
this intention, it was ultimately abandoned, and a different 
plan adopted. The Government came to the determination 
of forming a collegiate establishment at the Presidency. 

A Hindoo College, imder the designation of the Gov- 
ernment Sanscrit College, was the outcome of this resolu- 
tion. It was founded on a footing similar to that already 
established at Benares ; a sum of 25,000 rupees (afterwards 
increased to 30,000) was to be annually granted for the 
support of the institution, and the superintendence of it 
was to be vested in a committee to be named by the Gov- 
ernment. A sum of about a lakh and twenty thousand 
rupees was allotted by Government for the cost of buildings 
and the purchase of ground. The spot chosen was in an 
extensive square then lately formed in a central part of the 
city, and the first stone of the edifice was laid on the 25th 
of February, 1821, with masonic honors. 

The Madrissa or old Mahomedan College, for the study 
of the Arabic and Persian languages and of Mohamedan 
law, owes its origin to Mr. Hastings, who in the year 1780, 
provided a building at his own expense, and at whose re- 
commedation the Government assigned lands of the esti- 
mated value of 29,000 rupees per annum for the support of 
the institution. The object of the foimder to produce 
from this seminary well qualified officers for the courts of 
justice was never attained to the extent of his expectations. 

The building occupied by the Madrissa having fallen 
out of repair, and being located in an unhealthy spot, it 
was resolved to construct a building in a more suitable 
situation. A sum of nearly a lakh and a-half was given for 
the erection of an edifice very similar in plan to that of 
the Sanscrit College, on a site in a quarter of the town cal- 
led Colinga. The foundation stone of the new structure 
was laid on the 15th July 1824, with the usual ceremonies 
of Free Masonry. 

In Calcutta Mr. Sherburn established a school, which 
claims for its chilldren some distinguished men, among 
whom the late Babu Dwarkanath Tagore and the Hon'ble 
Rajah Romanath Tagore may be mentioned. '> It was then 



evident that the Hindus had commenced shaking off their 
quasi rehgious prejudice against Enghsh education, and 
manifested an eagerness to receive its benehts, when com- 
municated in accordance with those principles of reason, 
discretion and good faith, which the Government uniformly 

In the year 1815, soon after the renewal of the Com- 
pany's charter, a few friends, among whom was Mr. Hare, 
met together in Rammohan Roy's house, and the conver 
sation turned on the most fitting means for the destruction 
of superstition and the elevation of the native mind and 
character. Various proposals were made, bvit Mr. Hare 
went to work practically, and drew up a circular for the 
institution of the Hindoo College, or as it was at first called 
"The Mahavidyalaya" or great seat of learning. He had the 
cordial and able assistance of Sir Edward Hyde East, then 
Chief Justice. Public meetings were held, and a committee 
was formed to carry out the idea. On the 20th January, 
1817, the school was opened in a house in Chitpore Road, 
hired for the purpose. Between this and 1823, the school 
was moved from house to house, and its supporters began 
to fall off. Mr. Hare alone stood firm : but even he at 
last saw no other means of averting the dissolution of the 
scheme, than an appeal to Government to come forward 
to the rescue. It had already been resolved to establish a 
Sanscrit College in 1821, and when the question of a build- 
ing for the new institution came to be entertained by the 
Government in 1823, happily for the Hindoo College, it 
was agreed to locate them both under the same roof. 

The Hindoo College was established as before remark- 
ed in 1821. The object of the institution, as described in 
the printed rules published in 1822. was to "instruct the 
sons of the Hindoos in the European and Asiatic languages 
and sciences." 

Though it was proposed to teach English, Persian and 
Sanscrit and Bengali, yet the first place in importance was 
assigned to English. In truth the college was founded for 
the purpose of supplying the growing demand for English 
education. Sanscrit was discontinued at an early period. 
The Persian class was abolished in 1841. The only Ian- 


guages which have since been taught are EngHsh and 

The education of the females of India also came under 
consideration. In 1849 Mr. Bethune, then President of 
the Council of Education, founded a school for the especial 
instruction of the female children of natives of wealth and 
rank. And by means of funds bequeathed by him at his 
death, which occurred in 1851, and institution was erected 
in Cornwallis square for the purpose. The Bethune Native 
Female School was opened on the 7th May, 1849. 

Several other minor institutions have been started, as 
the Oriental Seminary, the Indian Free School, the Indian 
Academy, Seals' Free College, the Patriotic College, and 
others. They were the offspring of learned and philanthro- 
pic bodies of native gentlemen, and have done much good. 
Some of the above have passed away, but many still exist, 
and others have taken the place of those institutions which 
have gone. 

In 1855, the Hindoo College was recognised and trans- 
formed into the Presidency College, in accordance with the 
spirit of the despatch of Sir Charles AVood, and the decided 
opinion of Lord Dalhousie, who deprecated its constitution 
as the unseemly association of a collegiate with a dame's 
school. Chairs for moral and mental philosophy, logic, 
natural history, astronomy, natural philosophy, and geology 
were established. A separate department for the study of 
jurisprudence and law was also organised, and proved 
most popular. A department of civil engineering was 
also established on the abolition of the Civil Engineering 

In 1857, the Calcutta University was established on the 
model of the University of London, and was incorporated 
by Act II of that year. 

Education seems to have already made gieat progress 
among the natives in Calcutta, some of the richest of the 
Hindoo community having set up schools for the instruc- 
tion of native vouth in the English language. There were 
in February 1827, under the control of the School Society 
about 200 pupils attending the different schools. The 
minds of the most respectable members of the native com- 


munity seemed to have become fully alive to the import- 
ance of intellectual improvement, and individuals of dis- 
tinguished rank, affluence and attainments, readily afford- 
ed their countenance to the scheme of education. 

A school was built by Lord Auckland at Barrackpore 
in 1837 for native children. 

School Society 

The Calcutta School Society was instituted on the 1st 
September. 1818, for the purpose of "assisting and improv- 
ing existing institutions, and preparing select pupils of dis- 
tinguished talents by superior instruction before becoming 
teachers and instructors." It established two regular or, 
as they were termed, "normal" schools, rather to improve by 
serving as models than to supersede the existing institu- 
tions of the country. They were designed to educate chil- 
dren of parents unable to pay for their instruction. Both 
the Tuntuneah and the Champatollah schools were attend- 
ed with remarkable success. The former was situated in 
Cornwallis Street, nearly opposite the temple of Kalee. and 
consisted of a Bengali and English department. The latter 
was held in the house afterwards occupied by Babu Bhoobun 
Mohim Mitter's school, and which was entirely an English 
school. The two schools were amalgamated at the end of 
1834. The amalgamated school was known as David Hare's 

Education In The Upper Provinces 

Until of late years the progress of education in upper 
India, under the auspices of the several local governments, 
had been languid and inconsiderable. It received its first 
great impulse, as a general system, from the hand of the 
late Mr. Thomson, who obtained permission to establish 
a government school in every tehsildaree within eight dis- 
tricts in Hindostan. The measure was attended with such 
signal success, that in 1853 the Government of India direct- 
ed that the system of vernacular education should be 
extended to the whole of the North- Western Provinces, the 
Punjab, and in Bombay and Madras. 

The Futtehgurh Orphan Asylum owes its origin to the 


calamitous effects of the famine of 1837-38, when hundreds 
of poor children, bereft of parents and left destitute of sup- 
port, were rescued from want and misery by the exertions 
of a generous and humane officer, and located in a separate 
dwelling, where they received all the nurture and atten- 
tion which the most affectionate solicitude could suggest. 
In October, 1838, a similar institution at Futtehpore — form- 
ed simultaneously with the one at Futtehgurh, was broken 
up. The orphans were then divided — some were sent to the 
Church missionaries at Benares, and forty-eight were made 
over to the Rev. Mr. Wilson, who brought them on to 
Futtehgurh, where the number was increased to 95. With 
a view to render the institution a self-supporting one, the 
missionaries, in 1839, introduced the manufacture of car- 
pets, such as are made at Mirzapore, and it is extremely 
gratifying to learn that so great was the patronage which 
the industrious orphans met with, that their sources in this 
department of their industry were "not equal to the 
demand." To this they added the business of tent-making 
in 1844 — "chiefly to secure employment and maintenance 
for the rising colony of married orphans." From 1844 to the 
close of 1846, tents to the comparatively enormous value of 
Rs. 60,672 were furnished to the Indian public by the 

During the latter part of the year 1856, the subject of 
native female education began to be practically carried out 
in the Agra and Muttra districts, by the establishment of 
several schools in those districts. And from the success 
which attended these efforts it was soon evident that among 
the more respectable of the Hindoos the objection to send- 
ing their female children to a school, presided over by a 
teacher of their own selection, was gradually removed. 

In June 1856 fourteen schools were established in Agra, 
containing 207 girls. In August and September 32 more 
female schools were established in the Agra district. They 
contained 612 Hindoo and 15 Mussulman pupils, belong- 
ing to the most respectable classes of the native community. 
In September 53 more female schools were established in 
the Agra district. The attendance at these institutions was 
988. of whom seven were Mussulman and the remainder 


Hindoos. In October of the same year three schools were 
established in zillah Muttra, containing 50 pupils, 19 of 
whom were of the Brahmin and 28 of the Buniah caste. In 
the following month more schools were started ; they con- 
tained 31 Hindoo pupils. During the last quarter of 
1856 three female schools were established in the Mynpoorie 
district. The largest of these institutions contained 32 girls, 
all the daughters of respectable Mahomedans. The other 
two were attended by Hindoo girls only. 



Bethune Society • 

The Bethune Society was established on the Uth 
December, 1851, to promote among the educated natives 
of Bengal a taste for literary and scientific pursuits, and to 
encourage a freer intellectual intercourse than can be ac- 
complished by other means in the existing state of native 
society. The meetings of the society were held monthly 
during the cold season at the Theatre of the Medical Col- 
lege, at which discourses of literary scientific, or social sub- 
jects were delivered. 

Asiatic. Society of Bengal 

The Asiatic Society of Bengal was founded on the 15th 
January, 1784, by the illustrious lawyer, linguist and natu- 
ralist. Sir William Jones. The Governor-General, Warren 
Hastings, having declined the offer of the chair, the foun- 
der of the society was elected its president, an office which 
he continued to fill for upwards of ten years. The aims of 
the infant society were humble enough. Weekly evening 
meetings were held in the grand jury room for the perusal 
and discussion of papers on the history, antiquities, arts, 
science and literature of Asia, and a selection of these 
papers was from time to time published as the Asiatic 
Researches. These meetings were afterwards held monthly, 
and then once every three months. 

Henry Thomas Colebrooke was elected president in 
1806, and again the society exhibited symptoms of life and 
youthful vigor. The Court of Directors encouraged the 
society by a grant of Rs. 500 per mensem ; and two years 
later subscriptions were raised to the amount of Rs. 24,000, 
Avith which the society's present house was erected, the site 
having been granted by Government in 1805. It had pre- 
viously been used as a manege. In 1814 the society deter- 


mined on the formation of a museum "for the reception of 
all articles that may tend to illustrate oriental manners and 
history, or to elucidate the peculiarities of nature or art in 
the East." 

y In 1829, Captain Herbert commenced the publication 
of a monthly periodical entitled Gleanings in Science, chiefly 
intended to contain extracts from European scientific litera- 
ture, with such original papers as might be forthcoming. 
The project was thoroughly successful. James Prinsep suc- 
ceeded Captain Herbert as editor, and on the 7th March. 
1832, the name of the publication was changed to that of 
Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and was edited by 
the secretary of the society. On Mr. Henry Prinsep's return 
to Europe in 1838, it was transferred to his successor, Mr. 
Henry Torrens, on whose resignation in 1843 it was adopted 
by the society as its own publication. 

The museum had in the mean time attained such vast 
proportions that it was found necessary to appoint a paid 
curator in 1835, and a grant was obtained from Government 
of 200 rupees a month to its support. 

In January 1841, the Government determined to found 
in Calcutta a "Museinn of Economic Geology of India," by 
the aid of which it was expected important discoveries ^vould 
be made relative to the mining and agricultural wealth of 
the country. The first specimens of coal and ores from Eng- 
land were placed in the society's rooms, and a curator was 
appointed to this department. The museum remained and 
grew in the society's custody for fifteen years. At length in 
July 1856, the Government resolved to remove it. and to 
establish an independent geological museum, theoretical as 
well as practical, in connection with the Geological Survey. 
At the same time the society was requested to transfer its 
own geological and paleontological collections to the new 
museum. The society refused to give up their collections, 
and a long correspondence ensued which ended in the whole 
of the papers on the subject being transmitted to the Secre- 
tary of State. The result was that in 1862, the Government 
declared itself prepared to carrv out the project of an Im- 
perial Museum "for the collection and exhibition of speci- 
mens of natural history in all its branches, and of other 


objects of interest, physical, economical, and historical." 
The transfer of the society's collections then took place. 

A^icultural and Horticultural Society 

The Agricultural and Horticultural Society was found- 
ed on the 14th September, 1820, by the eminent Baptist 
Missionary, Dr. Carey. Commencing by small degrees, it 
has gradually been extending its operations — and now num- 
bers upwards of 500 members resident in various parts of 
the country, from the Punjab to the Madras and Bombay 
Presidencies. Its rooms in the Metcalfe Hall contain a small 
museum abounding in specimens of woods, oils, dyeing and 
tanning substances, besides other rare productions of the 
country. There is also a library which, though not large, 
embraces many valuable works of a character most useful 
alike to the newcomer and the older resident, who may be 
in pursuit of knowledge connected with the teeming riches 
of the vast empire. In the large hall or meeting-room, there 
are busts of Dr. Carey, the founder, of Dwarkanath Tagore, 
and of Dr. Wallich, for many years the Superintendent of 
the Royal Botanic Garden, a vice-president, and most zealous 
member of the society. 


The Calcutta Medical and Physical Society was institut- 
ed in March 1823. Dr. James Hare was the first president 
and Dr. Adam, secretary. The society's Journal was pub- 
lished for many years under the editorship of Drs. Grant, 
Corbyn and others. 

The Bombay Literary Society, was founded by Sir James 
Mackintosh in 1804. 

The Literary Society of Madras owed its origin 
to the exertions of Sir John Newbolt and Mr. B. C. 

There was a "Phrenological Society" in Calcutta in 
1825. It was established in March of that year, and had 
for its president Dr. Clarke Abel, and Dr. J. Grant as vice. 
The object of this society was "to inxestigate phrenolog}^ 
bv means of meetings at ^vhich phrenological discussions may 
take place, and communications be made, and by the collec- 


tion of pherenological works, skulls, casts, &c., and every 
kind of phrenological document and illustration." 

We have accounts of a Free Masons' Lodge in Calcutta 
as early as 1744. In 1789 they gave at the Old Court 
House a ball and supper to the members of the Company's 
Service in Calcutta. They seem to ha^e had a local 
habitation and a name in the city from the days of 
Char nock. 

On St. John's day, 1811, the members of the Masonic 
Lodges of Calcutta and Fort William, accompanied bv a 
number of other brethren not attached to any lodge at the 
Presidency, assembled at Moore's Rooms, whence they mov- 
ed in procession to St. John's Church, preceded by the band 
of H. M's 2^th Regiment. On their arrival at the church 
an excellent sermon, suited to the occasion, was preached 
by the Rev. Mr. Ward. This is the first notice we have seen 
of such a procession. It shows that the Masonic fraternitv 
were becoming a large and influential body in Calcutta and 
other parts of India. 

There were three Lodges of Freemansons in Calcutta, 
which walked in procession on St. John's Day, in 1812, to 
St. John's Church— the "Star in the East," "True Friend- 
ship," and the "Marine Lodge." The text chosen bv the 
Rev. Mr. Ward was — "For we have seen the Star in the 
East, and have come to worship him." 

From the order of procession on the occasion of the 
celebration of the anniversary of St. Andrew, in 1815. we 
learn what masonic lodges then existed in Calcutta. The\ 
were (1) Lodge Courage with Humanitv ; (2) Aurora Lodge: 
(3) Oriental Star ; (4) Moira Lodge ; (5) Marine Lodge ; (6) 
Humility with Fortitude ; (7) True Friendship ; (8) Industrv 
and Persexerance : and (9) The Grand Lodge. 

The above procession assembled at Moore's Rooms and 
thence walked to the site of the proposed new church of St. 
Andrew, near the Writer's Buildings, on the 30th Novem- 
ber, 1815. The foundation stone of the church A\as laid 
by Mr. A. Leton. 

The Masonic Lodges in Calcutta in 1819 were — (\) 
Courage with Humanity : (2) Aurora Lodge ; (3) Moira 
Lodge ; (4) Marine Lodge : (5) Humility with Fortitude ; 


(6) True Friendship ; (7) Industry and Perseverance ; (8) 
Star in the East ; and (9) Provincial Grand Lodge. 

A proposal for the establishment of the Calcutta Bethel 
Union Society was made in September 1823. The object 
of the society was the benefit of seafaring men visiting the 
port of Calcutta. A pinnace was purchased and fitted up 
for divine service on Sabbaths. 

The building of a Public "Exchange" was proposed in 
1784 for the town of Calcutta by Mr. Watts, in the following 
ad\ertisement : — "Merchants and gentlemen of Bengal, who 
may be inclined to encourage so useful a plan as the build- 
ing a public edifice of Exchange, in the Town of Calcutta, 
are requested to honour Mr. Watts with their names and 
opinion. A plan and elevation of the structure intended, 
may be seen at the Agency Office. 

"N. B. — Mr. Watts professes Independence by Labour. 
He has no connection whatever with other persons or other 
plans (if any there be) of a similar kind ; and as he has not 
been honoured with any communications, gentlemen can- 
not complain of infidelity. Subscriptions are optional. If 
the present should not fill, the building will still be erected. 
Its necessity in these times is evident, and the utility in a 
commercial town speaks for itself." 

Another proposal was made in May 1817. by the mer- 
chants in Calcutta, to build a Public Exchange "such as 
other commercial cities are provided with, and which the 
progressive enlargement of the trade of this port seems to 
render daily more requisite. And an application was made 
to Government for permission to erect the building "upon 
the vacant spot of ground between the Honorable Company's 
present Bankshall and the river, as that situation would 
afford a combination of advantages not to be found else- 

Government readily acceded to the request. 

In January 1814, was established at Madras "the High- 
land Society of Madras," a branch of the Highland Society 
at home. The objects of the society are thus stated — (1) 
The restoration of the Highland dress ; (2) The preserva- 
tion of the ancient music of the Highlands : (3) The pro- 
moting of the cultivation of the Celtic language ; (4) The 


rescuing from obli^ ion the valuable remains of Celtic Lite- 
rature ; (5) The establishment of public institutions, as 
Gaelic schools, a Caledonian Asylum for the children of 
Highland soldiers, and a Gaelic chapel in London ; (7) The 
keeping up the martial spirit, and rewarding the gallant 
achievements of Highland corps ; (8) The promoting 
agricultural impro\ement and the general welfare of the 
northern parts of the kingdom. 

A correspondent of the Government Gazette of the 15th 
April, 1819, says— "Calcutta is likely to be more distinguish- 
ed for its clubs than its masonic institutions. 7 he Tea club 
is expected to suit the public taste to a Tea. Several supple- 
mentarv regulations ha\'e been adopted, and among them the 
most judicious is, that 'The member who slops the table, or 
spilleth the hot beverage in his neighbour's lap, shall forfeit 
two annas.' Another club has started, under the mysterious 
denomination of Obscure, and as the Lunatics meet at the 
full of the moon, it is probable that the Obscures will meet 
at the change, contended to remain in a sort of eclipse." 


Duels must, from their very nature, have been the 
oldest species of combats, and it is a mistake to suppose 
that they were not known to the ancients ; for we find in 
Phitarch that on one occasion, during the Indian expedi- 
tion, Hephcestion and Craterus drew their swords on each 
other and fought, till separated by Alexander himself ; but as 
a practice, sanctioned by law and custom, duelling can be 
traced no farther back than the judicial combats of the 
Germans. These combats were, however, only a species of 
ordeal, as it was supposed that God, being the Ruler of 
the Universe, would take the innocent under his especial 
protection, and bring the cause of truth to light. These 
appeals to the judgment of God were conducted accord- 
ing to very positive rules which were most strictly enforced. 
From Germany the practice spread rapidly all o\er Europe. 
Soon after the invention of fire-arms, pistols became a favo- 
rite weapon for deciding private quarrels, till the Emperor 
Maximilian put a stop to the practice, by directing that 
such arms were to be employed only against the enemy. 

Duelling seems to have been so common in Calcutta 
that persons in the highest ranks of society were not free 
from it. Major Browne had the boldness to challenge Sir 
John Macpherson to fight. Sir John was then Governor- 
General of India. The duel was fought. The cause of the 
quarrel may be gleaned partially from a despatch of the 
Court of Directors, dated 28th March. 1788 : —"Having 
read and deliberately considered a publication which ap- 
peared in the newspapers entitled 'Narrative relative to the 
duel between Sir John Macpherson and Major James 
Browne,' &c.. we came to the following resolution, viz.. that 
the apology required from Sir John Macpherson by Major 
Browne shows that the offence taken by Major Browne arose 
from an act of Sir John Macpherson in his station of Gov- 
ernor-General of Bengal, and not in his private capacity, the 


apology stating that the paragraph which gave the offence 
appeared in the Calcutta Gazette, by the authority of the 
Government, at the head of which he (Sir John) then was 
as Governor-General of Bengal. That the calling upon 
any person acting in the character of the Governor-Gene- 
ral of Bengal, or Governor of either of the Company's other 
presidencies, or as a Councillor, or in any other station, in 
respect of an official act, in the way Sir John Macpherson 
has been called upon, is highly improper, tends to a sub- 
version of due subordination, may be highly injurious to 
the Company's service, and ought not to be suffered ; more 
especially as this Court is ready at all times to hear the 
complaints, and give redress to any of their ser\ants, who 
either wilfully, or by mistake, may have been injured by 
their superiors." 

The mess-table, unfortunately, afforded too frequent 
occasions for the exchange of shots, and brother officers ha\ e 
thence risen to avenge some fancied insult, under un- 
natural excitement, by calling out their former friends ; and 
although the shots may, in many instances, fall harmless, 
yet they too frequently prove, if not fatal, greatly injurious 
to the sufferer's future health, happiness, and prospects in 

Another source of frequent duels was the betting 
svstem carried to so great an extent amongst the officers in 
the Indian army, as well as civilians holding distinguished 
appointments, that no one could have resided long in India 
without being a^vare of the extravagant pitch to which this 
species of gambling was formerly carried. Thousands of 
rupees exchanged hands on the most trivial occasions, for 
instance, the turn-up of a card ; the number of natives, male 
or female, ^vho shall pass the window in a given time : in 
fact, on the most frivolous matters. It was to be deplored 
that more rational sources of amusement, during the long 
sultrv day of an Indian climate, could not have been found, 
to prevent the encouragement of gambling to so frightful 
an extent. 

Much may be said in extenuation of this baneful way 
of "killing time." when the want of society in India, espe- 
cially that of females— the best and natural check upon 


such iinintellectual indulgences — is taken into considera- 
tion. At many stations, the officers of the regiment were 
the only Europeans to be met with, and the want of society 
at such places, caused time not only, in fact, to drag heavily, 
but it was so much felt, that many fell into the grosser 
habits of drinking, in order to create excitement for a time, 
which, once commenced, required to be continued, and 
thus too often brought many a brave fellow, who in more 
active service would have been an honour to his country 
and friends, to an untimely grave, perhaps, by the hand of 
the duellist, the sad result of an intemperate brawl. 

Whatever may have been a soldier's ideas of duelling 
and howmuchsoever he may have abhorred the practice, 
yet it was considered better for him at once to quit the ser- 
vice than refuse a challenge. A man who would not go out 
■^vas scouted not only at the mess-table, and by the officers 
of his own corps ; but posted as a coward throughout the 
service — a consequence few men were prepared to encoun- 
ter. If an officer was ever so cautious, he could hardly pass 
through the service, especially during his early career, with- 
out being subjected to a challenge, grounded on some sup- 
posed insult or other, and which, being accepted, too often 
terminated fatally to one party, and left the survivor to 
^pend the remainder of his days ^vith the consciousness of 
having sent a felloAv creature prematurely to his grave. 
Some even gloried in having "killed their man," and thus 
adding a degree of terror to their names, and being con- 
sidered men of tried courage, have been falsely flattered, 
by such a distinction, rather to court than shun cause for 
challenge. But, on the other hand, many there were who, 
]iad it been possible, would gladly have recalled the un- 
fortunate events. 

The result was the gallant major, who had fought the 
enemies of his country on the plains of Waterloo, fell mor- 
tallv wounded. In the morning a report was circulated 

through the cantonment that Major T was no more. 

The general understanding amongst the troops was that he 
had fallen a victim to that ready apology for all sudden 
deaths, — the cholera. The fact was, however, well known 
to all the officers of his regiment. 


The remains of the major were consigned to the grave 
with the usual mihtary honours, without further investiga- 
tion, though not without the sincere regrets of his brother 
officials for his untimely end. 

The following is a circumstantial account of an "affair 
of honor," which is only one of hundreds of a similar kind, 
which were of such frequent occurrence in all parts of 
India : — 

"The — regiment of Foot was quartered at Vellore. 
when the tragical occurrence took place which deprived 
poor Captain Bull of his existence. He was yet only in his 
early manhood, beloved by all who knew him, and much 
respected in the Hussar regiment, which he quitted in 
exchange for a company in the — regiment in India, which 
he had joined only a few months. 

At Vellore, he found a set of officers, chiefly Irish, and 
by no means favorable specimens of that country, either in 
its virtues or its failings. He felt, therefore, as well natural, 
little or no inclination to associate with them farther than 
military duty required. 

The mess of the regiment was con^ ivial and expensive : 
and Captain Bull having been affianced to a young ladv 
who was coming to India, had the strongest and most 
laudable motives for living economically. He therefore in- 
timated, but in terms of politeness, his disinclination ta 
join the mess, stating his expectation of being shortlv mar- 
ried, and the consequent increase of expense which he was 
so soon to incur. But the majority of the mess, the Irish 
part of it in particular, wuth the confusion of head incident 
to those who are resolved to quarrel, interpreted his refusal 
into a personal affront. 

It was then unanimously agreed amongst nine officers 
present that thev should draw lots which of them was to 
call Captain Bull out. The lot fell upon a Lieutenant 
Sandys, who in the name of himself and his brother officers, 
sent the challenge, which Bull had too much spirit to de- 
cline, though determined, as he told his second, not to fire, 
having no personal injurv to redress. They went out. 
Sandvs fired, and Captain Bull fell. 

The systematic cowardice of the plot, and the untimely 


fate of so excellent a young man, strongly agitated the feel- 
ings of all. Sandys and Yeaman, and Lieutenant in the 
same regiment, his second, were brought down to the Presi- 
dency, and tried at the ensuing sessions for wilful murder. 
The grass-cutters and the horse-keepers, who had observed 
them going out together and returning, and a water-bearer, 
'who had actually seen the duel, were somewhat at a loss 
to identify Sandys and Yeamen, and the prisoners had, more- 
o\er, the advantage of a jury of Madras shopkeepers, who, 
serving the different regiments with stores, had, on former 
occasions, acquitted officers under similar charges, and 
aggra\ated as the present case was. probably felt a like in- 
disposition to convict. There were acquitted, therefore, 
but against the strong and pointed directions of the Judge, 
Sir Henry Gwillim, w^ho told the jury, that it would be 
trifling with his own oath not to tell them that it was a 
case of foul and deliberate murder. They deliberated, or 
pretended to deliberate, for half-an-hour ; and during this 
time the Judge, who could not imagine that any other 
verdict could be brought in than that of "Guilty," had al- 
readv laid his black cap upon his notebook, prepared to 
pass the sentence of the law upon them, and which, as he 
told the prisoners, it was his intention to have carried into 
effect. "You have had," said he, addressing them with 
great solemnity, "a narrow escape, and too merciful a Jury. 
If thev can, let them reconcile their verdict to God and 
their consciences. For my part, I assure you, had the ver- 
dict been what the facts of the case so fully warranted, that 
in 24 hours you should both of you have been cold 
unconscious corpses — as cold and unconscious as that of the 
poor young man whom, by wicked conspiracy and a wicked 
deed, you drove out of existence. Be gone, repent of your 
sins. • You are men of blood, and that blood cries up to 
Heaven against you." Sandys and Yeaman were afterwards 
tried by a court martial, found guilty of the conspiracy 
against the life of Captain Bull. The sentence was 
confirmed by the King, with an additional clause, 
declaring them "incapable for ever of again serving His 

Duels had been so common, during the previous two 



years, some resulting fatally, that we suppose the authori- 
ties had determined to make an example of the next party 
who sent a challenge ; this we infer from Mr. Cuthbert 
Fenwick having been found guilty of a misdemeanor (at 
the sessions of 1791) for sending a challenge to William 
Lakins, Esq. ; he was fined 2000 rupees, sentenced to one 
month's imprisonment, and to give security for his good 
behavior for two years ; himself in a sum of 10,000 rupees, 
and two securities each of 5,000 rupees. 

At the sessions in the Bombay Court on the 26th May, 
1804, a principal and his second in a duel were put on their 
trial for murder. The particulars of the case are not re- 
ported, nor the names of the parties given. After a long 
and patient investigation the jury returned a verdict of 
not guilty. We are here informed that the law had been 
exerted in putting down the practice of duelling, but with- 
out effect. 

That duelling was contrary to the military code of 
laws, may be ascertained by a perusal of the Articles of War 
made by His Majesty for the better government of the 
Forces ; the 2nd and 5th articles of the 7th section of which, 
for the year 1827, state as follows : — 

"Art. 2. No officer, non-commissioned officer, or sol- 
dier, shall presume to give or send a challenge to any other 
officer, non-commissioned officer, or soldier, as fight a duel, 
upon pain, if a commissioned officer of being cashiered ; if a 
non-commissioned officer or soldier, of suffering corporal 
punishment or imprisonment, at the discretion of a court 

"Art. 5. Whatsoever officer, non-commissioned officer, 
or soldier, shall upbraid another for refusing a challenge, 
shall himself be punished as challenger, and we hereby 
acquit and discharge all officers and soldiers of any dis- 
grace or opinion of disadvantage which might arise from 
their having refused to accept of challenges, as they will 
only have acted in obedience to our orders, and done 
their duty as good soldiers, who subject themselves to 

This did not have the effect of reducing the number 
of duels, and both the military and naval records shows 


numerous instances in which valuable lives were sacrificed 
to the false idea of honor. 

The history of the change in public opinion and the 
usages of the army and navy, which has taken place since 
1840, is not generally known; and is worth noting. Some 
fatal duels in England made one or two Christian men 
resolve to try and stem the evil. Many of the best officers 
in the services considered it hopeless and impractible. 
There would be no protection for man's honor, Sec. 

At a private meeting held on the 31st May, 1841, the 
following resolution was adopted, on the motion of Sir 
Robert Harry Inglis, Bart. m. p. : — "We, the undersigned, 
hereby form ourselves into an association for the purpose 
of considering the best means of preventing, under the 
blessing of Almighty God, the crime of duelling. And we 
request Captain Henry Hope and Mr. William Dugmore 
to summon us together whenever it may appear to be desi- 
rable for the above object." 

On the 12th February, 1842, at a general meeting held 
at the "British Hotel," Cockspur Street, London, Rear- 
Admiral Hawkes in the chair, a large number of noblemen, 
officers and civilians formed themselves into an "Associa- 
tion for the Discouragement of Duelling. 

In August, 1843, this society presented a memorial to 
Her Majesty, pointing out and deploring "the evils aris- 
ing from duelling, and praying that Her Majesty would be 
pleased to take the subject into her gracious consideration, 
"with a view to the adoption of means to secure its suppres- 
sion." Three hundred and sixty gentlemen joined in this 
memorial. It was most graciously received and within a 
t^velve month, the Articles of War ^vere formally amended 
prescribing a simple and reasonable course for the adjust- 
ment of differences, and acquitting of "disgrace or opinion 
of disadavntage all officers, who being willing to make or 
accept such redress, refuse to accept challenges, as they will 
only have acted as is suitable to the character of honorable 
men, and have done their duty as good soldiers who subject 
themselves to discipline." Any officer sending, accepting 
or conveying a challenge was made liable to be cashiered ; 
and seconds in a duel to be punished proportionately. 


Similar orders were issued to the navy. And the "As- 
sociation for the Discouragement of Duelling" in their 
fourth report (1850) stated that the Amended Articles of 
War had been firmly administered by the authorities, "in 
the few instances which afterwards occurred of officers act- 
ing in violation of them." The change thus effected in the 
services has been so complete, that the practice of duelling 
is now nearly forgotten, but those who have passed their 
lives in the army can look back at it ^vith wonder and 



In reference to the antiquity of the ceremony of suttee 
it may be observed that Diodorus Siculus, in his Narrative 
of the Expedition of Alexander the Great into India, gives 
the fullest and most interesting account of the nature and 
origin of the custom, that is to be found in any ancient 

He says — "This institution took its rise amongst the 
Rajpoots from the crime of one wife who destroyed her 
husband by poison." He then gives a full relation of the 
ceremony, which he characterises as an "unheard-of crime, 
and abhorrent from Grecian laws and customs." 

After describing the contest which took place between 
the two wives of Ceteus, the leader of the Indian troops, for 
the privilege of burning on the funeral pile, and which was 
decided in favor of the younger of the two. he thus pro- 
ceeds — "She who had lost her cause departed weeping, rend- 
ing the \'eil which covered her head, and tearing her hair, 
as if some great calamity had been communicated to her. 
The other rejoicing at her success proceeded to the funeral 
pile, crowned by the females of her household with mitres. 
She was decked with other ornaments, as if for a nuptial 
festival, and was attended by her relations, chanting a song 
in praise of her virtue. As soon as she reached the pile, 
she took the ornaments from her person, and distributed 
them amongst her attendants and friends, as memorials, one 
would sav. of her affection. The ornaments consisted of a 
multitude of rings upon her fingers, set with precious stones 
of various colours. Upon her head was no small number 
of stars of gold, discriminated by means of stones of all 
kinds. About her neck were many gems, some small, and 
the rest gradually increasing to a larger size. At length, 
having embraced her family, she was placed upon the pile 
bv her brother, and, to the great astonishment of the people 
who assembled to witness the ceremonv. she terminated 


thus heroically her life. Before the pile was lighted, the 
whole army, in military array, marched three times round 
it. The widow, bending towards her husband's body, 
uttered no pusillanimous cry when the flames began to roar, 
which excited towards her the pity of some of the specta- 
tors, whilst others extolled her resolution. There were not 
w^anting, however, individuals amongst the Greeks who 
condemned this custom as cruel and inhuman." 

The date of this occurrence is the first year of the 
106th Olympiad, or B. C. 314. We have therefore in this 
instance, demonstrative evidence of the prevalence and even 
antiquity of the sutte ceremony in India more than 3000 
years ago. 

"Relationship with a suttee," says Dr. Gilchrist, "gave 
a certain rank in India in the estimation of the natives. 
The son of a woman who had performed suttee ranked as 
a knight ; if he could boast that his sister had also burned 
herself, he would be considered as a baronet ; if he had 
other relations who had also sacrificed themselves, he would 
rank as a baron, and so on up even to the dignity of a king, 
according to the number of females of his family Avho had 
performed sutee." 

No wonder then that the male members, of the family 
were so interested in the self-immolation of their females. 

We may remark, by the way, that suttee is merely the 
ordinary way of spelling sati, "a good wife," from the root 
sat. It is quite correct, therefore, to say that such a one 
"performed the rite of suttee," or "became a suttee" — i.e., 
a model partner. 

"A case of suttee is described by Fanny Parks as being 
witnessed at Allahabad in 1822, a short time before Lord 
William Bentinck's prohibition of suttee. 

A corn chandler having lied, his widow declared her 
intention of being burnt with him, though the magistrate 
offered her a considerable sum of money to relinquish her 
design. In reply she threatened to hang herself in his kut- 
cherry, if he attempted to interfere with her, affecting to 
believe that she had been burned six times with her hus- 
band, and that the forthcoming would be her seventh time 
of cremation. As no food or Avater mav be taken, between 


the death of a husband and the self-sacrifice of his widow, 
the magistrate deferred the ceremony for two days ; but all 
in vain. 

The pile was therefore built up ; the body duly 
placed ; and guards stationed to keep back the crowd, 
which was estimated at five thousand people. The widow, 
clad in a red robe, bathed in the Ganges, and with a burn- 
ing brand in her hand, walked, with a cheerful countenance, 
round the pyre, applied the torch, and calmly ascended. 
Laying her husband's head upon her lap. she rapidly re- 
peated the formula "Ram. Ram, Sati." until the wind blew 
the flames upon her, ^vhen she sprang to her feet, and ap- 
proached the side as if to jump off. 

A Hindoo policeman with raised sword drove her back, 
and was instantly arrested by the magistrate. The widow 
then leaped out and ran into the river, her arms and legs 
being alone slightly scorched. Her brothers-in-law and the 
mob thereupon yelled and hooted at her. crying aloud "Cut 
her down ! Knock her on the head with a bamboo ! Tie 
her hands and feet, and throw her in again ! 

The European gentlemen, however, who were present, 
aided by the police, drove back the clamorous wretches, and 
protected the unhappy woman. Having slaked her thrist, 
she now ofFeJf*6d to mount the pile a second time ; but the 
magistrate laid his hand upon her shoulder and by his 
touch rendered her impure. Hindoo law of itself forbade 
a second attempt." 

In a long debate at the India House on the 28th March. 
1827, on Mr. Poynder's resolution regarding the burning of 
Hindoo widows, the following most revolting and brutal ins- 
tance is given Avhere a widow was binnt against her will : — 

"One Seethoo. a brahmin, died when absent from his 
family. A fortnight afterwards his widow, Hoomuleea, a 
girl of about fourteen years of age. proceeded to burn her- 
self, the pile being prepared by her nearest relations, then 
at the village she resided in. Her father. Puttna TeAvary, 
was in another part of the coimtry. and does not appear to 
have been made acquainted with what was passing. 
Whether the sacrifice was originally a voluntary one has not 
been ascertained ; it must be presumed it was soi 


"The preparatory rites completed, Hoomuleea ascend- 
ed the pile, which was fired by her uncle, the prisoner 
Sheolol. The agony was soon beyond endurance, and she 
leaped from the flame ; but seized by Sheolol, Bichhook, 
and others, she was taken up by the hands and feet, and 
again thrown upon it ; much burnt, and her clothes quite 
consumed, she again sprang from the pile, and running to a 
well hard by, laid herself down in the water-course, weep- 
ing bitterly. Sheolol now took a sheet, offered for the 
occasion by Roosa, and spreading it on the ground, desired 
her to seat herself upon it. 'No,' she said, she would not 
submit to this : she would quit the family and live by 
beggary ; any thing, if they would but have mercy upon 
her. — Sheolol upon this, swore by the Ganges that if she 
would seat herself on the cloth he would carry her to her 
home. She did so ; — they bound her up in it, sent for a 
bamboo, which was passed through the loops formed by 
tying it together, and carrying it thus to the pile, now 
fiercely burning, threw it bodily into the flames. The cloth 
was immediately consumed, and the wretched victim once 
more made an effort to save herself, when at the instigation 
of the rest, the moosulman Buraichee, approached near 
enough to reach her with his sword, and cutting her through 
the head, she fell back, and was released frorti further trial 
by death." 

We could multiply instances of both voluntary and in- 
voluntary sacrifices of widows, but that ^ve feel is unneces- 
sary. Even in the very vicinity of the metropolis scenes of 
this kind were enacted. At Cossipore, Chitpore and other 
places up to 1828 suttees -were usual. 

No one thought of taking up the matter in earnest 
until the administration of Lord Wellesley. 

This nobleman, who had passed a law forbidding 
mothers to fling their offspring into the Ganges at Saugor 
Island, next turned his attention to the parents themselves. 
Bv his directions a letter was written to the Sudder or 
Highest Court of Appeal under the Company's system, 
directing enquiries, and suggesting that the custom might 
be abolished. This was early in 1805. The Court replied 
at the end of the year, but by that time Lord Wellesley had 


left the country, and nothing was done during the second 
brief administration of Lord Cornwallis. or the seven years of 
Lord Minto, who was occupied with the Dutch, the con- 
quest of Java, and other matters. 

At length about the year 1812-13, the Court and the 
Government woke up from their slumber, and set about 
doing something with that earnestness which, be the motives 
or objects right or wrong, Indian officials never fail to 
exhibit. It soon became evident that two straightforward 
and simple courses were open. 

We might interfere with a strong hand and treat suttee 
as we had treated other horried crimes and customs. Or 
we might simply let the rite alone, like the Churruck Pooja, 
and the practice of taking old men and women to the banks 
of the Ganges, and there allowing them to perish with cold 
and damp, and other venerated customs ; trusting that the 
influence of civilizing agencies w^ould render it unfashion- 
able for a widovv to burn. Neither course wanted advo- 
cates. Neither perhaps, was entirely free from difficulty. 
But either one or the other must have proved less perni- 
cious and discreditable than the middle course which was 
adopted. No law was passed, nor was a total abstinence 
thought advisable. The practice was to be inspected, regu- 
lated, controlled, and reported on ; and so, in the year 1813 
a code of minute instructions was circulated by order of 
Government, the results of which, for nearly fifteen years, 
were such as it probably never entered into the heads of 
the originators to conceive. 

These rules were tinkered subsequently, but their 
general purport was as follows. 

Police officers were told to obtain the earliest informa- 
tion of an intended suttee ; to repair to the spot : to ascer- 
tain if the sacrifice were voluntary : to prevent it if pro- 
cured by force or bv means of drugs or intoxication, or in 
the case of pregnancv ; and of course to furnish an elabor- 
ate report, with particidars of caste, occupation, residence, 
number of children, and so forth. Then widows who had 
young children were not to burn, unless some relative came 
forward to support the orphans, vsiiich by the wav Hindoos 
are never slack to do. Magistrates were allowed to use all 


the arts of rhetoric or persuasion to save the widow, even 
when the sacrifice w^as, as it is gravely termed, "legal," and 
relatives were to be fined for failure to notify the occurrence. > 

In fact, the executive hierarchy of the British Govern- 
ment was placed in a situation analogous to that of refe- 
rees, who should be sent down by the Home Office to pre- 
side over a prize-fight, or of Roman proconsuls regulating 
a combat of gladiators. 

From this time returns of suttees figure prominently in 
the annual reports. No details are forthcoming for the 
year 1814. 

But in 1815. within six divisions of commissionerships,^ 
378 widows were "returned" as burnt. For the next few 
years the schedules grew in size, and we find the totals 
variously, in 1816. 442 ; in 1817, 707 ; in 1818, 839 : in 
1819, 650 ; in 1820, 597 ; in 1821, 654 ; in 1822, 513 ; and 
in 1823, 575, making a gross total in nine years of 5425 in- 
dividuals who had thus perished ; and taking into the 
account those who had been burned at Madras and Bombay, 
the number would be o\er 6000. 

In short two women on an a\'erage calculation were 
said to be destroyed in that manner every day in the year. 
The children of various ages who were left in an orphan 
and destitute state, in consequence of these sacrifices, in 
Bengal alone, amounted ^in the above nine years to 5128. 
Speaking roundly, more than 500 women were allowed to 
immolate themselves every year between 1814 and 1829, 
and the British Government patronized the shoiv. Dur- 
ing the greater part of this time, a paper controversy blazed 
as fiercely as these funeral flames. 

With reference to the question of suttees which even- 
tually WTre put down by the strong hand of the law, 
opinions were at this time (1827) strangely divided as to 
the advisability of using authoritative means for its 

In many instances persuasion had had the effect of 
preventing self-immolation, but frequently the act was 
entirely voluntary on the part of the widow. The classes, 
to which the husbands of the suttees, belonged, were vari- 
ous, comprehending all degrees, from the zemindar and 

SUTTEE . 205 

pundit to the beggar, and including also native govern- 
ment officers ; as well as persons of all circumstances from 
those in possession of ample means of subsistence to indi- 
viduals "in very miserable circumstances ;" the greater part 
indeed were in humble condition. 

The Government of India refused to interfere by any 
legal enactments, and the rite continued. 

The Rajah of Tanjore, to his honor be it said, endea- 
vored in every way to put down the practice. He denounc- 
ed it as "a barbarous and inhuman rite" ; he interdicted 
his own wife in the most solemn manner sacrificing herself 
on his funeral pile, and said he would discourage the prac- 
tice wherever his influence could have any weight ; and 
several devoted victims were through his means rescued 
from a cruel death, and were supported by his bounty. 

Captain Robertson, the collector of Poonah, in his dis- 
trict had the fimeral pile constructed on the "most ortho- 
dox style," that is, according to the shastras. 

This style was as follows : — "Above was a light cover- 
ing of dry twigs supported bv four forked posts firmly fixed 
in the ground ; the ground below was covered with Avood 
and cowdung, leaving a space of about five feet to the top ; 
on three sides the pile was surrounded with grass and straw, 
and the fourth was left entirelv open," so that the woman 
could escape if so minded. She was also to be left free of 
action, and not bound down by bamboos and ropes to the 
corpse as was the usual custom. BiU even these means were 
rendered useless in many instances through the determina- 
tion and self-devotion of the victim — or shall we rather say. 
through the infatuation and the drugs administered to the 
unfortimate creature, which took away her senses. 

We will not here give any of the harrowing instances 
of suttee which were published in so many of the papers 
before us. It was the opinion of the Court of Directors, 
that thev should "wait till the slow influence of education 


and more correct habits of thinking, which cannot be 
denied to be now gaining ground in India, extinguishes a 
the custom." 

All this time, too, while the Government fiddled and 
widows burnt, a quiet intimation from one of the Judges 


of the old Supreme Court, to the effect that he would 
simply treat suttee as murder, had completely prevented the 
practice in the limited tract bordered by the river Hooghly 
and the Mahratta ditch. \V^idows might be reduced to 
ashes on one side of Circular Road, but not on the other ; 
at Garden Reach, but not at Chandpal Ghaut ; at Howrah, 
but not on the Esplanade. 

But at last came the hour and the man. 

Lord William Bentinck had not been eighteen months 
in the country, when he put an end to suttee by an Act 
made up of a dignified preamble and few short sections. 
There was neither riot nor disaffection. No sepoy shot at 
his colonel : no^vhere were magistrates or missionaries 
mobbed, treasinies plundered, or binigalows fired. There 
was some vapoining on the part of the Bengalees, and there 
was an attempt to get at the ear of the Privy Council which 
ended as one might have expected. The good example set 
then has been followed by the tributary princes of India, 
moved by the influence of Residents and Agents. Suttee 
is now rarely heard of in any part of the great peninsula. 


It may be interesting to notice a class of miuderers 
which used to infest almost every province in the Upper 
and Central Provinces, till the strong hand of the British 
Government put them down effectually. We allude to the 
Thugs, a secret society whose practice was to surprise tra\ei- 
lers and strangle them for the piupose of robberv. They 
were accustomed to accompany travellers on long journeys 
for many days, and even weeks ; they ate and slept ^vith 
their unsuspecting victims, and took part ^s ith them in their 
religious duties at their respecti\'e sacred places along the 
road, and lived with them on the most friendly footing, till 
a favorable opportunity offered for the execution of their 
murderous deeds. This far-extended organisation of crime 
was founded and propagated on a religious basis and Kalee 
was the goddess whom they worshipped. 

Colonel Sleeman, with great exertions, undertook the 
pursuit and extirpation of this society of Thugs. His efforts 
were successful, and they ^vere follo^ved up by several officers 
afterwards, until two thousand Thugs were called to account 
in five years— at Indore, Hyderabad. Saugor and Jubulpore. 

From 1831 to 1837 there were : — Transported to Pen- 
ang. &:c., 1059, hanged 412. imprisoned for life or foi 
shorter periods 1239, released after trial 32. escaped from 
goal 11. made approvers 483. And it was suspected there 
were upwards of 1800 notorious Thugs still at large in 1838, 
but their names were known, and they dared not practice 
their trade. Thus the villanous band may be said to have 
been extirpated. 

Thuggism sprang up in India, under the first Maho- 
medan conquerors. 

The Thugs are distinctly ascertained to ha\'e existed 
in great numbers in the reign of Akbar the Great ; no less 
than 500 having been executed, in the Etawah province, by 
that emperor ; and they are known to have been, for cen- 


turies, exercising their fearful a\ocations in every part of 
India, from the Sutlej to Cape Comorin. 

During the early part of the British dominion in the 
Doab, the ra\ages of the Thugs appear to have increased to 
such an intolerable degree that in 1812 or 1813, the Govern- 
ment deputed Mr. N. J. Halhed to attack their head quar- 
ters, in the pergunnah of Sindoure, which being situated on 
the right bank of the Jumna, opposite to Etawah, and con- 
sisting entirely of ravines and inaccessible fastnesses, formed 
a suitable and. until then, a safe retreat to the gangs, to 
deposit and dispose of the plunder acquired during their 
extensive excursions. 

The extent to which they carried on their depreda- 
tions may be judged by the fact that one of their number, 
Syud Ameer Alee, was present at 150 cases of murder, where 
in 719 people were killed and robbed of 67.000 rupees, in 
hard cash, and property estimated at upwards of 1,50,000 

Mr. Halhed carried fire and sword into this small per- 
gunnah, and entirely drove away its predatory inhabitants. 
Avho were, in consequence, dispersed in every direction, 
those who escaped the sword or the gallows, took refuge in 
the Bundelcund States of Jhansee, Dtittea, Tehree. and 
Jaloun, and in the neighbouring provinces of Scindia. 

The Nepal, the Pindaree. and the Mahratta wars of 
1814-15. 16 and 17. ensued immediately after the disper- 
sion of the Thugs, and these formidable gangs, the more 
formidable from the secrecy of their acts, and the general 
ignorance almost of their existence, by the public at large, 
gradually recovered strength, till in the end of 1817, they 
were foinided in Malwa in as large numbers, and as daring 
in their acts as before. The general peace, which followed 
the termination of the Mahratta war, opened the road to 
commerce all over the Peninsula ; and the monopoly of 
opium, at that period, established, in the province of Malwa. 
by the British Government, still further invigorated the 
drooping commerce of Central India. 

The state of Central India and Rajpootana, during the 
existence of the Pindaree power, was singularly favorable 
to the growth of freebooters. 


Travellers were compelled to go in large bodies for 
the sake of protection, and the Thugs could, under the 
same pretence, assemble in numerous gangs, without sus- 
picion falling on them. At the termination of the Pindaree 
war, and subsequently, the fear of the Thugs led to the 
same results ; and travellers, from ignorance, and by the 
wiles of the Thugs, repeatedly joined gangs, under 
the firm belief that their safety was thereby ensured : 
they thus, of their own accord, fell into the jaws of 
the destroyer when they considered themselves most safe 
from harm. 

The monopoly of opium, and the annually increasing 
flourishing condition of Malwa, occasioned an export which 
required returns to repay it, far exceeding the natural 
limited wants of the province. The imports, therefore, 
were by no means adequate to pay for the produce exported 
to other countries. The monied traders were, by these cir- 
cumstances, induced to make remittances from the Bombay 
presidency in jewels, dollars, gold mohurs, which ^vere 
generally sent under charge of Rokerias, or treasure car- 
riers, who, by various disguises, attempted to escape the 
lynx eyes of the vigilant and watchful Thugs, but often 
they allowed their secret calling to transpire, and the result 
infallibly ended in the death of the carriers, and robbery 
of the treasures. 

The loss sustained to the commence of the country, by 
these murders and robberies, which befell the bankers and 
monied interest of Bombay, the Deccan, and of Central in 
India, through the instrumentality of these free-booters was 

By the pacification of India, the armies of the Madras 
and Bombay governments were brought in contact with 
the frontiers of the Bengal Presidency ; and numerous re- 
cruits were obtained from the Gangetic provinces to their 
armies. The men of those provinces are notoriously much 
more attached to their homes than their brethren of the 
sister presidencies ; and the roads being no longer shut by 
open and avowed enemies, large numbers every year took 
furlough, and returned towards Hindostan, with their small 
savings about their persons. These sepoys the Thugs al- 


ways marked as their own ; and next to the treasure carriers, 
the murder and robbery of these faithful servants of Gov- 
ernment was their favorite occupation : trained to danger, 
and confident in their ow^n strength and courage, they were 
easily misled by the wily and submissi^e conduct of the 
Thug leaders. 

From 1820 large gangs of Thugs infested every part of 
Central India ; and the valley of the Nerbudda did not 
obtain a respite from their ravages until the arrest of one 
gang, in 1820, and another in 1823, turned the attention 
of the British authorities to the necessity of taking measures 
for the protection of their subjects from these murderers. 

From that time, however, till the end of 1829, the only 
modes adopted to check their audacity, were of a local and 
precautionary nature ; but about this time, and the com- 
mencement of 1830, events took place, which attracted the 
most serious attention and notice of the Government. 

It was found that the temporizing and precautionary 
method must be abandoned, and active measures adopted 
in their stead for the suppression of the gangs. Officers 
were therefore appointed to carry out the energetic 
measures of the Government. 

Among these were Colonel Sleeman, who w^as station- 
ed at Saugor, a central spot, from which he could Avatch, 
follow^ tip. and arrest the gangs on their departure from, 
or return to, their homes, in Bundelcund. 

From that period the arrest of Thugs was prosecuted 
with the greatest vigor and success, and a blow was struck 
w^hich appears to have at length completely ruined the con- 

There was a peculiarity in the operations of one class 
of these Thugs, which deserves to be mentioned. In 
the Nizam's country not far from Beejapore. ^vomen 
were generally employed to lure the traveller to his des- 
truction. A pretty-looking girl of their tribe was selected 
and placed near some retired road, where on the approach 
of an object of prey, she had a pretty story readv to explain 
the cause of her having been left alone in the jimglcs. 

"The unfortunate listener feels interested, and falk 
into the snare laid for him — the girl induces him to ac- 


company her to a favorable spot, where she manages to 
fasten the fatal noose, her companions being always near 
enough to afford timely aid. The traveller if mounted will 
perhaps offer to take the girl up on his horse, to assist her 
in overtaking the party she says she has lost ; but before 
he has advanced many paces, the murderess casts the snare 
roimd his neck, and, throAving herself from the horse, drags 
her protector to the ground, where he is speedily despatched 
by the ever-ready accomplices." 



It appears somewhat strange, that with all the means 
and appliances at the command of the British in the East 
and also of the great mass of the intelligent natives with 
whom they are associated, so little should have emanated 
from the latter of a character to exhibit their intellectual 
powers to advantage ; little in fact to show that art, and 
sciences and manufactures have progressed with them in 
any manner corresponding with their advance in the 
Western world. Books have been written concerning the 
country and its history ; travellers have related their jour- 
neys ; and soldiers have described their campaigns ; but the 
contributions to that kind of literature which is calculated 
to benefit the whole human family, have been few and 
far between. Art seems to wither amid the arid plains of 
Hindostan. and science has scarcely found a resting place 
for her foot on the shores of the Ganges or the temples of 

With the exception of Vigne's faithful representations 
of Cabool and Punjab scenery, Daniel's extravagant Eastern 
beauties. Schefft's views of Lucknow and other native courts, 
Fergusson's and Kittoe's Indian architecture, and the pro- 
ductions of a few minor painters, the generality of the 
artists who have figured among the Calcutta or Mofussil 
community, have confirmed themselves almost wholly to 
portrait-painting, finding that more lucrative than subjects 
of a more laborious and lofty description. 

We have none moving in the aristocratic ranks who 
will take the hand of an oriental artist, and enable him 
to dispose of to advantage those productions on which he 
may have spent years of labor and mental exertion. 
Were the patronage of those moving in the upper 
circles extended to artists of merit, both European 
and native, it would soon be perceived that India 
possesses no lack of talent, among those who are now simply 










portrait painters,— it would be soon found that as beautiful 
specimens of Indian scenery could be transferred to canvas 
as any which England and the continent have produced. 

Portrait painting was costly in the past century in Cal- 
cutta. This may be inferred from the following advertise- 
ment : — "Portrait Painting. — Mr. Morris having taken a 
house in Wheler Place, directly behind the Governor's 
house, begs leave to inform such ladies and gentlemen who 
may be inclined to favor him with their sittings, that he is 
ready to paint them at the following prices : — 

A head size, ... ... 15 gold mohurs. 

Three quarters, 
K-it cat, ... 

Half length, 
Whole length 
Calcutta, 5th April, 1798." 

The extravagant prices that were in 1794 charged by 
engravers for the production of their work, may be judged 
from the circumstance that a gentleman of the name of 
Baillie advertises nine "Views of Calcutta, 15 by 11 inches 
in size, printed from copper plates," at twenty-five rupees 
each view, or eighty rupees for a set of nine views ! 

Thos. Daniell, the well known delineater of India, 
advertises in 1795, his "Proposals for publishing twenty-foui 
Views in Hindostan." Price two hundred sicca rupees for 
the whole. 

A proposal appears, in 1794, for publishing a series of 
two hundred and fifty engravings, illustrative of the man- 
ners and customs of the natives of Bengal, by a gentle- 
man of the name of Solvyns ; the price of the work 
Rs. 250. 

A small collection of valuable paintings, formerly the 
property of Mr. Hughes, consul at Alexandria for the India 
and Dutch India Company, is advertised for sale in 1795, 
at "the Europe, China and India Warehouse, No. 46. Radha 
Bazar." The subjects are curious ; viz., — 
Solomon's Idolatry, a Pagan Temple 

with various figures, by Zario, 1658 Sa. Rs. 800 
An original painting of the beheading 

of John the Baptist, by Corregio ... „ 2,500 


A candle light painting on copper by 

Rembrandt ... ...- „ 400 

Virgin and Child by Rubens ... „ 500 

A naked Venus, full length after Titian „ 500 

A ditto Venus, Voleysti ... „ 400 

The prices given show the market value of such paint- 
ings at that time. 

'T. F. Belnos, miniature, painter and drawing master, 
pains miniature pictures, at the rate of 130 sicca rupees 
each." 25th January, 1810. 

A -writer in the Pioneer, two or three years ago, gave 
some interesting particulars of all the artists that had visit- 
ed India. His account with some additions and alterations, 
^ve ha^'e taken the liberty to subjoin : — 

Tilly Kettle 

It seems singular, but as far as our enquiries ha\ e gone, 
our possessions in the East appear to have attracted none 
of our artists, till towards the end of the last century. Then 
there came a shoal of them ; and afterwards the fancy died 
away, till it Avas revived in the time of living draftsmen. 

"When Zoffanv suddenly determined to make the voyage 
to India in 1783, his friend Paul Sandby, the chief dra\v- 
ing master at AVoolwich, says, he anticipated "rolling in gold 
dust." But the pagoda tree had already been shaken by an 
enterprising adventurer, in the person of Tilly Kettle, who 
appears to have arrived in Calcutta in 1772. The large 
ceiling picture in the Theatre at Oxford, painted by 
Robert Streater in Charles the 2nd's time — the flying 
Amorini of ^vhich ha\ e been much admired, had fallen out 
of repair, and Kettle -was a man of sufficient mark to have 
been commissioned to put it to rights. He had been also a 
constant contributor to the Incorporated Society of Artists. 

He only stayed four years in India, but in that short 
time is said to have amassed a large fortune — \ve may pre- 
sume a large one for him ; at any rate it did not last long. 
He probably devoted himself to portraits for the most part, 
but after his return to London he exhibited in the year 
1781 an historical piece, called "The Mogul of Hindustan 
reA'iewing the East India Company's Troops." 


l^his historical picture is a representation of a review 
by the Emperor Shah Alum of the troops at Allahabad, 
luider the command of Sir Robert Barker, in September 
1767, The account of this review, given by Mrs. Kinders- 
ley in one of her letters, may pro\'e interesting to some of 
otir readers : — 

"Upon a great holiday amongst the Mahomedans, 
by desire of the Great Mogul, the English troops were out 
to be re\'ieAved by him. But it appeared very extraordinary 
to us that he did not take the least notice of anything, or 
even look on the troops while they were going through their 
evolutions ; if he did look, it was Avith an eye askant, much 
practised by Mussulmen. It seems it is inconsistent with 
dignity to appear to obser\e. However mortified the sol- 
diers might be at this seeming neglect, we were still pleased 
Avith such an opportunity of viewing a shadow of Eastern 
magnificence ; for although the parade exceeded anything 
I had ever seen, it Avas but a miniature of former grandeur. 
All the trappings of dignity were displayed on this 
occasion ; the Mogul himself was on an elephant richlv 
covered ^vith embroidered velvet, the howdah magnificenth 
lacquered and gilded ; his sons were likewise on elephants. 
The plain was almost covered Avith his attendants, the 
officers of his court, their serv^ants, and their servants' ser- 
vants, sepoys, peadahs, Sec, did not amount to less than 
fifteen hundred people. All, except the sepoys, were accord- 
ing to custom, dressed in white jemmas and turbans, the 
principal people Avere on horseback and Avell mounted : 
the train Avas increased by a great manv state elephants, 
state palanquins, and horses richly caparisoned. The 
gilding of the hoAvdahs and palanquins, the gold stuffs of 
the bedding and cushions, the sih'er and gold ornaments, 
the tassels and fringe of various colors, some of them even 
mixed Avith small pearls, the rich umbrellas, the trappings 
of the horses, and all together glittered in the sun and made 
a most brilliant appearance : such is the pomp of Eastern 
kings ! and all the Indians of any sort or consequence pride 
themsehes on the number of their attendants. 

"After the revicAV was over, the Mogul had a public 
divan or court. On these occasions he is seated on the 


musnud, Avhich is a stand about the size of a small bed- 
stead, covered with a rich cloth ; upon it is an oblong plate 
of silver, gilded and turned up round the edges ; in this 
he sits cross-legged, as is the fashion of the country. In this 
manner the prince, surrounded by the officers of his court, 
receives all petitions, and those who have the honor to be 
presented to him.* * * The English field-officers were all 
presented to him ; the officer before he enters the divan is 
taken into another apartment, and a Mori's dress is given 
him which is the present from the Mogul, this he puts on, 
then leaving his shoes at the door he enters the divan, mak- 
ing three salaams, after which he advances forward to the 
musnud, and presents some gold mohurs, which the Mogul 
orders one of his officers to receive without taking any fur- 
ther notice of the person presented to him. The dress 
given on these occasions is generally showy and slight, em- 
broidered with plated gold and coloured silks, upon muslin 
more or less rich according to the rank of the person to 
whom it is given ; the sera peach, the jewel which orna- 
ments the forepart of the turban is composed of emeralds, 
diamonds and rubies, but most imperfect stones." 

In less than ten years after his return from the East, 
poor Kettle had failed in London — failed in Dublin ; and 
calling to mind the golden hours of Bengal, he once more 
endeavoured to visit that country, and determined to go 
thither overland. He only reached Aleppo, however, where 
he died, being then some five and forty years old — a man 
still in his prime. The portraits of Tilly Kettle are said to 
have that decisiveness which usually marks good likenesses 
— to be weak in the drawing part, but agreeable in colour. 

William Hodges 

William Hodges seems to have been originally an 
errandboy in the streets of London ; he was then taken 
notice of by Wilson, the great landscape painter, and taught 
the elements of the art. 

For some time he was a scene painter at Derby, but 
having exhibited at the Spring Gardens' Rooms, he was in 
1772 appointed draftsman to Captain Cook's second expedi- 
tion. This kept him absent from England for three years. 


and on his return, he exhibited views of Otaheite and New 
Zealand, and also some home landscapes. He was now well 
enough established to marry, but losing his young wife he 
fell into that restless condition so often induced by a mis- 
fortune of the kind and was doubtless reckless as to what 
became of his prospects and in a mood for adventure and 

At this juncture, he received an invitation from War- 
ren Hastings to visit India. He arrived in 1777 or 1778, 
being then about five and thirty, and seems to have done 
well — for he was able to return in 1784 to England with 

He exhibited his Indian views, which seem to have 
been landscapes, and from the fact of its being stated that 
Sawrey Gilpin put in wild animals for him, they may be 
supposed to have represented the jungle. This Gilpin was 
the Landseer of his day ; his speciality at first being horses, 
in which line he brought himself into notice by his "Acces- 
sion of Darius through the neighing of his horse ;" but he 
after studied animals in general, and worked in collabora- 
tion with both Barret and Zoffany. Four of Hodges' Indian 
pictures were engraved ; he published also a collection of 
Indian views aqua-tinted by himself, and he illustrated his 
travels in India by his drawings. He must, therefore, have 
been very industrious whilst out here. He became an R. A., 
and joined in the great undertaking of Boydell's Shakes- 
peare. It would be agreeable to leave him thus at work, — 
but unfortunately for himself he set up a bank in Dart- 
mouth, which failed, and buried him in its ruins. Health 
broke down, and he died at Brixham in Torbay, 1797, in 
great poverty. Mr. Samuel Redgrave says of Hodges' style, 
that with some appearance of power, his works are loose 
in their execution and monotonous in colour. 

On the 18th November, 1784, a notice in the Calcutta 
Gazette announced "that the valuable collections of paint- 
ings, late the property of Augustus Cleveland, deceased, 
would be sold by public auction on the 24th instant, con- 
sisting of the most capital views in the districts of Monghyr, 
Rajmahal, Boglipore, and the Jungleterry by Mr. Hodges." 
For some unexplained cause the sale was postponed, and 


did not take place until December 1794. Amongst the 
pictures then sold were twenty-one views by William 
Hodges. They are described as follows in the advertise- 
ment : — "Hill and Lake of Ture ; Hill Mundar ; Mooty 
Jumna waterfall ; Bejy Gur ; Rajmahal Peer Pahar Hill, 
Monghyr ; Monghyr Fort ; Jehangeira Fort ; Sickergully ;. 
another view of the same place ; Oodooa Nullah ; Byjenath 
or Deo Gur ; Rocks in Jungleterry ; Bhagulpore Nullah and 
Mosque ; Tomb and distant view of Rajmahal Hills ; a 
Dirgah ; Lake Jungleterry ; Hill of Ture ; a Banyan Tree ; 
Lake Jungleterry and a thunderstorm ; Bhagulpore House, 
distant view." 

In 1785 Hodges published in London "A comparative 
view of the ancient monuments in India, particularly those 
in the Island of Salsit, near Bombay, as described by differ- 
ent writers illustrated with prints;" and in 1793 appeared 
his "Travels in India during the years 1780, 1781, 1782, 
and 1783." This last work was also illustrated with 
sketches from his pencil. 

Johann Zoffanv 

The painter of the widest reputation who ever sought 
the banks of the Hooghly was the celebrated Johann 
Zoffany. Though his surname has an Italian look he was 
really a German and was born at Frankfort-on-the-Maine in 
1733. He ran away from home when quite a boy, and 
found himself at Rome with a passion for art, — and of 
course, very little else. But through the intervention of 
his father he was noticed by one of the Cardinals, and 
lodged in a convent. He remained twelve years in Italy, 
visiting the different cities, and then after a short visit to 
Germany made his way to London in 1761. 

When Zoffany first arrived in the British metropolis, 
he brought with him some thing short of a hundred pounds. 
"With this." said he, relating his adventures, many years 
after, to an old friend — "with this I commenced maccaro7ii, 
bought a suite a la mode, a gold watch, and gold-headed 
cane." Thus equipped, he \valked into the service of 
Benjam Wilson a portrait painter, then residing in Great 
Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. With this artist he 


engaged himself as drapery painter, and remained with him 
until tired of the monotomy of his employment, he deter- 
mined to try his fortune by trading on the capital of his 
talent on his o^vn account. He accordingly took furnished 
apartments at the upper part of Tottenham Court Road, 
near where was so long exposed the sculptured figure of 
the piper, and commenced his practice, as a limner, by 
painting the portraits of his landlord and landlady, ^vhich, 
as a standing advertisement, were placed on each side the 
gate that opened into the area before the house. Garrick, 
bv chance passing that way, saw these specimens, admired 
them, and enquired for the painter. The interview ended 
in his employing the artist to paint himself in small, and 
hence ^vere produced those admired subjects in ^vhich our 
Rosciiis made so conspicuous a figure. That, however, in 
which he is represented as Abel Drugger obtained for the 
painter the greatest fame. Sir Joshua Reynolds "was so 
pleased "vvith this truly dramatic piece, that he purchased 
it of Zoffan^ for the sum of one hundred guineas. This 
flattering circumstance alone might ha^e rapidly advanced 
the fortunes of Zoffany, but his liberal habits of li\ing 
exceeded his income, and though never from this moment 
\\anting employment, his finances became seriously 

The late Earl of Carlisle, at this period, conversing 
with Sir Joshua, expressed a wish that he had been the 
possessor of this said picture of Garrick in the character 
of Abel Drugger. He had often endeavoured to persuade 
his friend Sir Joshua to part with it. "Well, m.y Lord," 
said he. "what premium will you pay upon my purchase ?" 
^'Any sum you will name," repHed the Earl. "Then it is 
yours, my lord, if you will pay me one hinidred guineas, 
and add fifty as a giatuity to Mr. Zoffany." His lordship 
consented, and so, to the credit as ^sell as satisfaction of all 
parties, it was settled. 

Zoffany at length, through the friendly offices of Sir 
Joshua, obtained the notice of the great ; and a portrait 
which he painted of a nobleman, we belie\'e Lord Barry- 
more, acquired for him a great succession of employment, 
and consequent celebrity. He obtained the patronage of 


the reigning majesties, and some of his best pictures are 
those of portraits and conversation pieces of the royal 


But he was always rather uncertain in his plans and 
apt to take up suddenly some novel idea. Hs surprised and 
disappointed all his friends by determining to accompany 
Sir Joseph Banks in the voyage with Cook round the world. 
But ^vhen he came to see his cabin he did not like it, — did 
not think it suitable for painting purposes and threw up 
his voyage. 

Having expressed a wish to visit Italy, His Majesty 
generously assisted him in providing the means for his 
journey, presenting him with £300 and a letter of intro- 
duction to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. It was owing to a 
desire hinted by the queen on his departure, that Zoffanv 
produced the picture of the Florence gallery. Exceeding 
his commission, he produced the elaborate and highly meri- 
torious picture in question, which, after his return to Eng- 
land, finishing with the utmost care, he submitted to Their 
Majesties at Buckingham House. 

Some years subsequent to his return from Italy, this 
picture of the Florence Gallery, however, was purchased of 
Zoffany by the queen, and as we are informed, at the ins- 
tance of the then president of the Royal Academy, for six 
hundred guineas ; a sum perhaps commensurate with the 
value of the picture in those days, though not an entire re- 
muneration for the labour bestowed upon it. 

When the Royal Academy was founded in 1768. 
Zoffanv was nominated a member, and in 1772 he painted a 
picture called, if we remember right. "The Life School of 
the Royal Academy." and which contains portraits of the 
thirty six foundation members. The thirty-four male 
academicians are represented in various attitudes, and on 
the walls of the room are portraits in frames of the t^vo 
female members, Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser. 
Zoffanv has represented himself with a palette in his hand, 
and ^ve would here observe that it was apparently his prac- 
tice to introduce a portrait of himself, either with a pencil 
or a palette in his hand, into all his pictures containing a 
large number of figures. This painting was purchased bv 


George III., and is now in the Royal Collection at Bucking- 
ham Palace. 

After acquiring great distinction in England, Zoffany 
travelled on the continent for a few years, adding consi- 
derably to his reputation by his "Interior of the Florentine 
Picture Gallery," and other works. Returning to England 
he remained there but for a short time and then sailed for 
India, arriving in Calcutta in 1780. From Calcutta he went 
to Lucknow, where he is said to have lived for three or four 
years ; after ^'isiting Agra, then in possession of the Mah- 
rattas, he returned to Calcutta, and remained there until 
the rains of 1789. 

Probably the largest piece he painted in India was 
"The Embassy of Hyder Beg Khan to ^Varren Hastings."" 
This picture is said to contain upwards of one hundred 
figures. "The Cock-fight at Lucknow" contains about 
twenty-four figures. Amongst them is Asaph-u-Daula. the 
Nawab Vizier of Oudh ; Mr. Edward Wheler, a member of 
Council, and who died at Calciuta in October 1784 ; Cap- 
tain Mordaunt. ^vhose cocks were matched against those of 
the Nawab ; General Claude Martine and other celebrities, 
European and native, who happened to be at Lucknow at 
the time. In a corner of the picture is Zoffany himself, 
pencil in hand. The original of this picture is, we believe, 
still at Lucknow. Calcutta. howe\er. can boast of one of 
the finest productions of Zoffany's pencil in the admirable 
altar-piece representing The Last Supper, a gift from the 
artist to St. John's Church. It is said that the head of each 
appostle was the portrait of some one living at the time in 
Calcutta ; Tulloh. the auctioneer, sitting for Judas, while 
he was allowed to believe that he was sitting for the apostle 
John. Shortly after the consecration of the church on the 
24th of June. 1787. it was proposed at a meeting of the 
church committee to present the artist, who. it was said, 
was about to leave Calcutta, with a ring of the value of 
Rs. 5,000. "in consideration of this signal exertion of his 
eminent talents." The low state of their funds, however, 
prevented the committee from carrving out this proposal, 
but it was unanimouslv agreed to send him an honourable 
written testimonial of the respect in Avhich they held his 


ability as an artist. The following is an extract from the 
letter which was sent to Zoffany : — "We should do a vio- 
lence to your delicacy were Ave to express, or endea\our to 
express, in such terms as the occasion calls for, our sense of 
the fa\ our you have conferred on the settlement by present- 
ing their first place of worship so capital a painting that it 
Avould adorn the first church in Europe, and should excite 
in the breasts of its spectators those sentiments of virtue 
and piety so happily portrayed in the figures." 

Zoffany must have painted the portraits of most of the 
leading members of the European community in India, at 
the time of his visit, as well as those of several natives of 
rank. His likeness of Sir Elijah Impey is in the High 
Court at Calcutta, one which he took of Warren Hastings 
was engraved in Calcutta by Mr. R. Britridge, and sold, 
framed and glazed, at 2 gold mohurs per copy. That of 
Madame Grand used to adorn the walls of the late Mr. 
John Clark Marshman at Serampore. 

It was Avhilst he was at Agra, that Zoffany most pro- 
bably painted the portrait of Mahdajee Sindia, referred to 
by Sir James Mackintosh in the journal of his visit to Poona 
in 1805. He says : — "Near the monument which is being 
erected to the memory of Mahdajee Sindia is a sorry hut 
where the ashes of this powerful chieftain -were deposited for 
a time, and ^vhere they may now lie long undisturbed. It 
is a small pagoda where, in the usual place of the principal 
deity, is a picture of Sindia by Zoffany, very like that in 
the Government House at Bombay. Before the picture 
lights are kept constantly l^urning, and offerings daily made 
by an old servant of the Maharajah, whose fidelity rather 
pleased me, even though I was told that the little pagoda 
was endoAved with lands which vielded a small income, 
sufficient for the xvorship and the priest." This picture by 
Zoffany is probablv the only work of European art which 
is now the object of adoration : it has obtained one honour 
refused to the "Transfiguration." 

Zoffany returned to England in 1790, having amassed 
a considerable amount of money ; but though he lived for 
20 years, his trip to the East seemed to have exhausted his 
po-ivers. Whether he was stricken with that singular medio- 


crity occasionally supervening on residence in India, can- 
not be decided ; but the fact remains, that his hand iiad 
lost its cunning, and though he continued to paint, the 
vigour and the character were gone. He died at Ke^v in 1810. 

Thomas Longcroft 

Zoffany on his passage out to India in 1780, had for a 
fellow-voyager one Thomas Longcroft, a Bengal indigo- 
planter, who appears to have possessed artistic tastes, and 
to have taken lessons in drawing and painting from Zoffany, 
as an agreeable mode of relieving the tedium of the long 
sea voyage. He afterwards turned these lessons to good 
account by sketching many places of interest in Benares, 
Agra, and Delhi. His sketches were sent to his friends in 
England from time to time, and about four years ago one 
of his descendants, a Miss Twinning, presented se\eral of 
them to the British Mtiseum. 

A contemporary account of this donation states that the 
sketches "are remarkable e\en nov.' for their correct render- 
ing of the character of the scenery, and acctn^acy with re- 
gard to architectural details. Modern photographs of the 
buildings he drew prove him. indeed, to have been exact 
even in the most unimportant features." He died in India 
about 1811, as in Gardner's Calcutta Annual Directory for 
1812 his estate is mentioned as one of those in the hands of 
the Administrator General. Thomas Thomson being his 
executor. In October of that year ^sas sold the -^vhole of the 
drawings, sketches. See, belonging to the deceased. These 
drawings -were seven hundred in nimiber. and represented 
copies of the remains of Hindoo and Musalman buildings, 
sketches of plants and trees, implements, &:c.. to be seen in 
the different parts of Bengal Avhere Mr. Longcroft had 

Robert Home 

Robert Home was a London man and a pupil of the 
celebrated Angelica Kauffmann. and if the date of his first 
portrait at the Academy — 1770 — is correct, he must have 
exhibited when he was quite a lad. We find him in Dublin 
in 1780, and in London again in 1789. 


Robert Home practised his art in this country for 
close upon forty years. He is believed to have landed at 
Madras in 1790, and whilst there painted a portrait of 
Lord Cornvvallis, ^vhich gained him a high reputation, as 
also did his views of the Mysore country. Towards the 
end of 1792. Home arrived in Calcutta, and at once secured 
a large share of patronage. 

He settled in the first instance at Lucknow, attracted 
thither, doubtless, by the liberality of the Nawab Vizier 
Asaf-ud-Daula, who appointed him his historical and por- 
trait painter. It would seem that he made a good deal of 
money in a short time in this appointment, but he remov- 
ed to Cawnpore, finding perhaps the Nawab capricious ; 
for that prince is said to have required the expunging of 
any courtier from a group if he had quarrelled with him 
after the sketch was taken. To this time we must attribute 
the large picture now at Hampton Court, representing the 
Nawab of Oude receiving tribute. 

Asaf-ud-Daula died in 1797, and it seems likely that a 
year or so previously to that event, Home had gone to 
Madras, for he exhibited a li^ely interest in the dramatic 
events w^hich were going on Mysore. In 1797, he sent home 
t^vo pictures. "Tippoo's Sons received as Hostages" (a sub- 
ject ^vhich. as we have seen, engaged at least two other 
brushes), and the "Death of Morehouse at the storming of 
Bangalore." He published, too, a "Description of Seringa- 
patam" and "Select Views of Mysore," which embraced 
many scenes in the war with Tippoo. 

Home then settled in CalciUta, where he resided many 

Home was a man of good family, a brother of Sir 
Everard, and t^vo of his sons were distinguished officers. 
One fell fighting at the head of his regiment, on the 
dreadful day of Sobraon. As an artist. Home ranks 
very high. He drew with great precision and correct- 
ness, and his colour is rich and pleasing, and having 
been carefully prepared by himself, has stood the test of 
time well. 

Before leaving Calcutta. Home had painted the por- 
traits of most of the principal residents of Calcutta ; 


amongst them was the only portrait that was ever taken of 
Dr. Carey, the missionary. 

Home was engaged by the Nawab Saudut Ali on a 
salary of Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,000 a year, ^vith permission to 
employ his leisure in private practice. Bishop Heber, who 
visited Lucknow in October. 1824, thus writes of Home : 
— "I sat for my portrait to Mr. Home four times. He has 
made several portraits of the King, redolent of youth, and 
radiant with diamonds, and a portrait of Sir E. Paget, which 
he could not help making a resemblance. He is a very 
good artist indeed for a King of Oude to have got hold of. 
He is a quiet, gentlemanly old man, brother of the cele- 
brated surgeon in London, and came out to practise as a 
portrait painter at Madjras, during Lord Cornwallis's first 
administration ; was invited from thence to Lucknow by 
Saudut Ali a little before his death, and has since been re- 
tained by the King at a fixed salary, to which he adds a 
little by private practice. His son is a captain in the Com- 
pany's service, but is now attached to the King of Oude as 
equerry and European aide-de-camp. Mr. Home would 
have been a distinguished painter had he remained in 
Europe, for he has a great deal of taste, and his drawing is 
very good and rapid ; but it has been of course a great dis- 
advantage to him to ha\'e only his own works to study, and 
he, probably, finds it necessary to paint in glowing colours 
to satisfy his royal master." 

After the death of the Bishop. Mr. Home, unsolicited, 
sent the widow a copy of her husband's portrait ; another 
copy was also sent to Calcutta for the Bishop's College. 

Home retired from the Nawab 's service at an advanced 
age, and spent the remainder of his days al Cawnpore. where 
he kept up a handsome establishment ; and until the loss 
of his daughter and increasing infirmities rendered him 
averse to society, was wont to exercise the most extensive 
hospitality to the residents of the station. 

George Chinnery 

In the winter exhibition, at the Grosvenor Gallery in 
London, there was a small portrait of George Chinnery by 
himself. An oldish man as there represented, with ruffled 


hair, rather a self-assertive nose, and an eager, ready look. 
He was, we believe, of Irish extraction, but appeared first 
in London as a portrait painter in crayons and afterwards 
as a miniature painter. Towards the close of the century 
he was in Dublin, and was appointed a member of the Irish 
Academy. He seems to have reached Calctitta at the end 
of 1802 or the beginning of 1803. There he resided for 
many years, and was a favourite portrait painter amongst 
all classes. His style has a singular charm, bright and 
animated, and his colour is most pleasing. 

In Government House, Calcutta, there is a three- 
quarter length of Sir Eyre Coote by this artist, and a full 
length of the Nawab Saudut Ali Khan half brother of Asaf- 
ud-Daula, and the best of the Oiide rulers. In the High 
Court, in Calcutta, there is a full length of Sir Henry Rus- 
sell, by Chinnery ; and in 1824 he was engaged in painting 
the portrait of Sir Francis Macnaghten. Chief Justice, to be 
placed in the Court House among the portraits of his prede- 
cessors, ^vho had distinguished themselves on the Calcutta 
Bench. The portrait is life-like, and exact ; the production 
is one of the finest specimens of Mr. Chinnery's talents, 
which are "universally acknowledged to be rare and splen- 
did," says the editor of the Government Gazette. 

Chinnery is said to have remained in Calcutta for about 
twenty vears. His earnings were estim.ated at Rs. 5.000 a 
month, but his prodigality was so great that he largely 
exceeded his income. The late Mr. John Marshman used 
to say that Chinnery could rarely be induced to finish his 
portraits : after having satisfied himself with a masterly re- 
presentation of the countenance he turned to a new subject. 
Hence "^vhen he left Calcutta, more than twentv unfinished 
Dortraits were brought to the hammer. If he had employ- 
ed an inferior artist to complete the figine. and fill up the 
drapery, he would ha^•e made a much larger income. 

The artist moved at length from India and proceeded 
to China ; and in 1830. after more than a quarter of a cen- 
turv, he renewed his connexion with the London Academv 
by exhibiting a portrait which he sent home from Canton. 
After this, he once or t^vice exhibited again after intervals, 
and the last painting exhibited at the Academy was a por- 


trait of himself; this was in 1846. He is understood to 
have died at Macao. His talents were very versatile. He 
produced in China river scenes in the manner which, when 
he left England, passed for water colour ; that is to say, the 
sketch was carefully done is pencil and then tinted. 
There were many pieces exhibited in London drawn 
in with the pen, worked up with washes, and finished 
with colour. Chinnery etched also with great ability : in- 
deed there is no question he was a genius ; and under 
different circumstances might have been far more generally 
known. But he had some of the infirmities as well as the 
gifts of genius ; was unstable and eccentric, and never 
steadily kept the prize of a great reputation before him. 

Mr. Hickey 

Mr. Hickey, an artist who appears to have resided in 
the Madras Presidency during the whole of the time he was 
in India, announced in "October 1799 that he had under- 
taken to paint the following subjects connected with the 
capture of Seringapatnam on the 4th of May of that year : — 
"The Storming of the Breach at Seringapatam," "The In- 
terview with the Princes in the Palace," "The Finding of 
Tippoo's Body," "The First Interview of the Commissioners 
of Mysore with the family of the Rajah," "The Funeral of 
Tippoo," "The reception of Lieutenant Harris with the 
Colours of Tippoo in Fort St. George," "The placing of the 
Rajah on the Musnud of Mysore." It was further stated 
that engravings would be made from these pictures to be 
executed by eminent artists in London. 

On the 4th of May 1800. the anniversary of the capture 
of Seringapatam, a full-length picture of the Earl of Mor- 
nington was opened for inspection at the Exchange. This 
picture, which was painted at the request of the principal 
inhabitants of Madras, represents his Lordship in his Wind- 
sor uniform with the insignia of the Order of St. Patrick, 
seated at a table, having a scroll spread on it, and on the 
scroll is inscribed the heads of the Partition Treaty ; in the 
background is seen the steeple and flag-staff of Fort St. 
George, with the English union jack flying over the 
standard of the late Sultan. 



Amongst the best known of Hickey's portraits is that 
of Mr. Josias Webbe, of the Madras Civil Service, and at 
the time Chief Secretary to the Government of Madras. 
This portrait was engraved, and one of the prints used to 
be in the dining-room of the late Duke of Wellington at 
Strathfieldsaye, and regarding it the follo^ving anecdote is 
told. The old stvle of dress in which Mr. Webbe is depict- 
ed attracted the curiosity of a lady visitor who asked the 
Duke, "Who that man with such a neckcloth and coat was 
meant for ?" His Grace replied ; 'That man was one of 
the ablest I ever knew, and what is more one of the 

George Faringlon 

George Farington was a contemporary of Zoffany in 
India. His father was Rector of Warrington, and he was 
born there in 1754. His elder brother, Joseph, was a well- 
known landscape painter — a highly successful pupil of 
Richard Wilson, and ultimately an influential Academician. 
George became a student under the guidance of this 
brother, and was afterwards placed with Benjamin West, 
then gradually rising into his extraordinary fame — extra- 
ordinary when it is remembered that he was classed by his 
compeers with the Carracci — and now denied almost all 

; merit. 

Farington got the gold medal of the Academy for his 
"Macbeth" in 1789. He exhibited a portrait in 1783, and 
appears immediately afterwards to have gone to the East. 
As he was one of the artists selected by Alderman Boydell 
to make drawings from the Houghton Collection, it seems 
probable that he was a good painter, and he is said to have 
been very industrious during the time he was in India — a 
period, ho^vever, of less than five years ; for in 1788 he died, 
having taken fever by exposure to the night air. As he 

. was a man of some mark, we regret more that we are 
not able to specify the scene of his labours, nor to give 
the names of any of his pictures. A large Durbar paint- 
ing was said to have been in progress when death over- 
took him ; but whether any trace of this exists, we cannot 


Ozias Humphrey 

The eminent miniature painter Ozias Humphrey visit- 
ed Bengal in the beginning of 1785. He was a Devonshire 
man, having been born at Honiton in 1742, and there also 
also he Avas educated ; but his parents having observed his 
taste for drawing, sent him, very wisely, to London, to be 
thoroughly grounded. Probably from the first he exhibited 
a preference for small surfaces ; for when he was still quite 
young, he was placed with Samuel Collins at Bath, well 
known as a miniature painter, who afterwards migrated to 
Dublin with a great access of reputation. 

Humphrey settled in London in 1764, being then only 
two-and-twenty ; and so soon as 1766 he had attracted the 
notice of the King who commanded him to paint minia- 
tures of the Queen and other members of the Royal family. 
All went well till 1773, when a fall from his horse greatly 
enfeebled his health, and he was obliged to seek relaxation 
in travel. He started for Italy with the eccentric Romney 
who very soon parted from him. His tour extended to 
Rome, Naples, Venice, kc. ; but curiously enough, this 
journey, which has been the turning point in the lives of 
so many artists, very nearly ruined Humphrey's prospects. 

For, returning in 1777, he must need try the higher 
walks of art, paint subjects ; or if he was to paint portraits 
it must now be on large canvasses. But the truth was, he had 
hit on his vein, in the first instance ; and these new attempts 
were in lines for which he had not the necessary gifts. 

He seems to have gone out to India through disappoint- 
ment at the cold way in which his grander style was re- 
ceived. But he had the courage and good sense to resume 
the work he was really fitted for, and in Calcutta, Moorshe- 
dabad, Benares and Lucknow he painted the miniatures of 
native princes and persons of distinction, and we make no 
doubt many of these exist to the present day. 

He is considered to have caught the character of Rey- 
nolds without any subordination of his own originality. 
The simple composition — excellent drawing and sweet 
colour — give his miniatures a peculiar charm ; and they are 
moreover easy of recognition, as he used a remarkable sig- 
nature — a Roman O with an H inside it. 


He was only three years in India, when his healthy, 
never strong, necessitated his return. One of those large 
tasks was then undertaken by him, which have more than 
once over-exerted the strength of devoted artists. He com- 
menced a cabinet for the Duke of Dorset. The idea was 
altogether princely ; it was to be ornamented with minia- 
tures taken from the family house at Knowle. Fifty were 
completed, and then the incessant application began to in- 
jure the eyesight of the artist. 

With the good sense which seems to have been a charac- 
teristic, Humphrey at once abandoned minute work, and 
adopted the free style of crayon drawing. In this he had 
much success ; biu about the close of the century his sight 
suddenly and completely failed, and after ten years in the 
dark he departed. Humphrey must be placed very near 
the throne of miniature painting certainly in the first rank 
of those who have exercised the art ; and it is gratifying to 
think that India had for a time the services of this distin- 
guished man, more especially as the art itself has succumbed 
befoie the advance of photography, though, except in point 
of fidelity, the exchange has certainly not been for the better. 

Thomas, William and Samuel Daniell 

India owes a heavy debt of gratitude to the Daniell 
family. It is really astonishing how much they did to ren- 
der familiar in England the scenery and customs of this 
country. The eldest Daniell, Thomas, was the son of an 
inn-keeper at Chertsey, and was born in 1749. He early 
displayed his gift in art, and exhibited at the Academy in 
1774, and continued to contribute for ten years — flower 
pieces and landscapes. He then turned towards the East, 
and devoted himself for the rest of his long life to oriental 
subjects. When he started for India, he took with him his 
nephew, William, then a lad of fourteen ; and during the 
period between 1784 and 1794 they visited various parts of 
the country, and amassed great stores of sketches of regions 
which had not before been represented. 

The two Daniells afterwards in 1793 (after painting 
views of the caves of Elephanta) left Bombay for China and 
other parts of the Eastern archipelago. 



The uncle and nephew pubKshed views of Calcutta in 
that city, and, on their return to England, set about the 
great work that is associated with their names — the Oriental 
Scenery. This splendid publication appeared in six volu- 
mes, and comprised 144 views; it was completed in 1808. 
It may be conceived with what earnestness William Daniell 
applied himself to the task : when it is mentioned that out 
of the six volumes, five were engraved in mezzo-tint by his 
own hand or under his immediate supei^intendence. 
William had of course been too young to contribute to the 
Academy before he went to India, but, immediately on 
their return, he and his uncle exhibited. 

For some time they both painted Indian views, and 
Thomas Daniell persevered steadily in his eastern vein ; 
but the younger, William, was very successful also in views 
of London, and afterwards of country scenes in England. 
William, however, returned to the country in which 
his passion for art had been nurtured ; for in 1832 he paint- 
ed with some assistance a panorama of the city of Madras ; 
and afterwards by himself another of Lucknow, with a re- 
presentation of the method of taming elephants. 

There was yet a third Daniell, Samuel, brother of 
William. He also was trained as an artist, and was appar- 
ently a pupil of Medland — an engraver and water-colour 
painter of the period. This Medland was Art Professor at 
the East India College, when it was located at Hertford, 
and before Wilkins had built that coldly classical fabric for 
it on Amwell Health, afterwards known as Haileybury. 

Samuel Daniell was a man of great energy, a passionate 
naturalist and intrepid traveller; and went in early life to 
the Cape, from whence he penetrated into the interior of 
Africa. He returned to London in 1804 with a great col- 
lection of drawings, which were afterwards published under 
the title of African Scenery. But the forest had become a 
second home to him, and in 1806 he was off again to 
Ceylon, which he made his head-quarters for six years. 
From thence he seems to have visited India, and to have 
travelled in Bhootan ; for his brother William afterwards 
published a book called Views of Bhootan from sketches 
which had been executed bv Samuel Daniell. 


But the weird spirits that Hve in lofty woods and haunt 
the margin of tropical swamps resented the intrusion of 
this adventurous spirit into their ancient and solitary 
abodes, and they breathed on him their deadly exhalations 
and weakened his body with fever and pains engendered of 
malaria. At the early age of thirty-six, after a few days' 
illness, Samuel Daniell succumbed to death in Ceylon in 
the year 1811. 

Think then, by way of summary, of what this family 
did to render India famous, — to introduce to English fire- 
side travellers the shrines and forests of the Deccan ; the 
ancient manners and customs of the country ; the empo- 
riums which owed their existence to modern enterprise, as 
well as those strange rock excavations which may be said 
almost to precede architecture. 

First of all there was the grand book, the Oriental 
Scenery, of which we have spoken. Then there were 24 
plates of the Hindoo excavations at Ellora, and the Pictu- 
resque Voyage to India. Moreover, Thomas Daniell, for 
thirty years after his return from the East, contributed to 
the Academy, and his subjects were almost always Indian 
temples, or tiger hunts and other sports followed out at 
native courts. The painting was considered accurate, if 
rather thin, and the colouring was pleasant and attractive. 

William Daniell again exhibited many pictures at the 
Academy, which were founded on his Indian sketches. He 
published the Bhootan Views, which the enterprise of his 
brother Samuel had produced, and he exhibited before the 
public of London the panoramas of Madras and Lucknow. 
He illustrated also the Oriental Annual, a serial which 
stood out amongst those ephemeral publications for the 
beauty of its printing, binding, and general finish. 

Fame, competency, and the honors of the Academy 
awaited the two elder Daniells — that is to say, the uncle 
and the elder nephew : and Samuel, as we have seen, pass- 
ed earlv away in the tropical island he had described in his 
Scenery, Animals and Natives of Ceylon. 

Thomas Daniell lies in Kensal Green, having lived to 
the great age of 91. William died three years before him 
in 1837. 


We have rather a taste in India for memorials of 
obscure people : it requires a really good biographical dic- 
tionary to find out, sometimes, who our heroes are. But, 
surely, if the honor in which men are held was strictly re- 
gulated by their merits, there would be a testimonial in 
some part of India which should record the name of Daniell. 
It is remarkable that Zoffany, Ozias Humphrey, and 
Thomas and William Daniell were all at once time in this 
country together. 

John Smart 

John Smart landed at Madras in 1788. being then 
nearly fifty years of age. He was a pupil of Daniell Dodd, 
a miniature painter and subject painter on small canvasses ; 
a few of whose things survive in engravings, such as the 
"Royal Academy. Somerset House," the figures in which are 
well drawn ; a portrait of the actor Le\'eridge ; another of 
the well-known boxer, Ruckhorse, &:c. Smart was a fellow- 
student in the St. Martin's Lame drawing-school, with the 
fashionable and eccentric Cosway. 

He appears to have had fair success in London as a- 
miniature painter and artist in crayons ; but it must be 
supposed that his work did not prove sufficiently lucrative : ;. 
for in 1783 we find him migrating to Ipswich, and after a 
five years' residence there, turning his thoughts to the East, 
from whence rumours of easily-gained wealth must have 
reached England, or it is difficult otherwise to account for 
the rush of artists in that direction during this and the next 

He went first to Madras, and afterwards, it is believed^ 
to Calcutta and Lucknow ; and in all these places his minia- 
tures were much appreciated. They are generally marked 
"J. S.," and are highly finished, the drawing correct, and 
the colour delicate. He stayed five years in India, and 
then returned to his profession in London. 

It is probable that he considered Madras to afford a 
good opening for a voung artist ; for his son. also a John 
Smart, who exhibited miniatures at the Academy in 1800 
and in 1808, died at Madras in 1809. 

There can be little doubt that the trial of Warren; 


Hastings filled the imaginations of people in England with 
ideas of the romance and magnificence of this country. The 
impeachment commenced in February 1788, and for a time 
occupied great attention : the scene was commemorated by 
the water colour painter Edward Dayes, from which an 
engraving was made, 

Arthur William Devis 

Arthur William Devis, the son of an artist, was born 
in London in 1763, and so early exhibited a talent for his 
father's profession, that at the age of 20 he was appointed 
by the East India Company as draftsman to an expedition 
they were then fitting out. He sailed in the Antelope, but 
the ship was wrecked in the North Pacific on the Pelew 
Islands. The crew seemed to have been all saved, and 
sailor-like, to have beguiled their enforced leisure by join- 
ing in the tribal fights amongst the islanders. Devis must 
have taken a prominent part in these ; for he was twice 
wounded. He and his companions, however, got tired of 
the position, as they might well do, and managed to build 
a ship of some kind. It looks a long stretch on the map 
from the Carolines to Macao, but they effected the voyage 
somehow or other. 

Mr. Devis arrived in Calcutta about 1791, before the 
completion of St. John's Church, and following the example 
of Zoffany, offered his services to aid in its decoration. We 
next hear of him in October, 1792, as being at Santipore. 
"busily engaged in the execution of his paintings, from 
w^hich the engravings of the arts and manufactures of Ben- 
gal are to be taken." 

He does not appear to have accompanied Lord Corn- 
wallis in his campaign against Tippoo, for we read that, at 
an entertainment given at the theatre at Calcutta on the 
7th February. 1793, by the gentlemen who held the princi- 
pal appointments in the Company's civil establishment, in 
commemoration of the victory at Seringapatam on the 6th 
February, 1792. amongst other decorations was a large 
transparent painting by Mr. Devis. from a drawing bv 
Lieutenant Conyngham, 76th Regiment, exhibiting the 
storming of Bangalore by the British troops on the night of 


the 21st March, 1791. There was also a grand transparent 
view of Seringapatam by Messrs. Devis and Solwyns, from a 
drawing by Lieutenant Colebrooke. The following month 
the senior military officers at Calcutta gave a ball and sup- 
per, in commemoration of the peace which had been signed 
under the walls of Seringapatam, and the services of Mr. 
Devis were again called into requisition for the embellish- 
ment of the theatre. The only portrait painted by Devis, 
of which we can find any mention, is a full length one of 
Lord Cornwallis, ^vhich was engraved by Mr. Henry Hud- 
son of Calcutta. 

In February 1794, he published a proposal for a print 
from his painting of "The reception of the hostage Princes." 
The size of the engraving was not to be less than that of the 
death of Lord Chatham, "but so much larger as the artist, 
who shall be of the first abilities, will undertake," for 
another print Avas to accompany it with an outline of each 
head, and a reference expressing the name and rank of 
each inividual at the scene delineated. The engraving to 
be dedicated, by permission, to the Most Noble Marquis 
Cornwallis and army under his command. The price was 
to be eighty sicca rupees. 

We obtain some further particulars from the papers 
about Devis. and his picture of the reception by Lord 
Cornwallis of Tippoo's two sons — Abdul Kalick and Mooza- 
ud-Deen — as hostages for the due performance of the treaty 
on the 26th February, 1792 : — "The two young princes 
have long white muslin robes, red turbans, several rows 
of large pearls round their necks, their manner imitating 
the reserve and politeness of age. In the background are 
their attendants, howdahed elephants, camel harcarras, and 
standard bearers carrying small green flags suspended from 
rockets, besides pikemen and the guard of British sepoys, — 
all depicted ^vith great care and precision even to the caste 
marks. Lord CornAvallis is shown full of grace and good 
nature, receiving the Princes, who are being introduced to 
him by the head vakeel. Gullam Ally. Among the other 
figures are Sir John Kennaway, the Political Officer, and 
Colonel John Floyd. 19th Light Dragoons (the first English 
Regular Cavalry Regiment that ever landed in India, ) 


commanding the Cavalry. The artist Devis has painted 
himself in the left hand corner of the picture with a port- 
folio under his arm, — contemplating the scene which he 
subsequently represented exactly as described in the graphic 
account given by Major Dirom in his narrative." 

This picture was accidentally found by the Major- 
General Sir Henry Floyd in an old curiosity and pawn- 
broker's shop in London ; and it was not until it had been 
cleaned that he noticed that it contained an excellent like- 
ness of his father General Sir John Floyd. It is unfortunate 
that a key to this picture does not exist. 

Devis painted another picture of the same subject. 
After his death his widow being unable to sell it, cut out 
the portraits and sold them separately. Judging from the 
one of Colonel Floyd, the picture must have been of very 
much larger size than the first one, and from the position 
of the head differently grouped. It is to be regretted that 
for want of finding a timely purchaser, a picture of such 
historical value should have been lost. 

Devis painted no less than thirty pictures, all of Indian 
subjects. About twenty of these illustrate Indian trades 
and manufactures. The rest are figures of fakirs, Indian 
women, agricultural scenes, and two or three relating to 
historical subjects. 

Devis passed a year in China, and then sailed to Bengal 
whence he returned to England. 

Home again in England, at last, Devis set about his 
professional work in real earnest and produced a great 
number of historical pieces and portraits which gained 
him a great reputation. His " Babington Conspiracy," 
" Signing of the Magna Charta." Sec were made very 
generally popular through engraving, and we still find tlie 
" Sons of Tippoo " in the parlours of inns and other placer, 
where old prints linger. 

So many families in England kne\\' something of the 
dreadful prisons of Mysore, both in the time of Hyder AH 
and of Tippoo. that the name of the latter came to be held 
in something of the dread and disgust attaching in our days 
to that of the Nana. And the circumstances of his career 
created much excitement and interest : a proof of which 



exists in the fact that when Ram Mohun Roy appeared in 
London in his Bengalee dress, the street boys shouted 
"Tippoo ! " after him. 

It will be recollected that Wilkie painted the " Death 
of Tippoo," a composition that was engiaved by John 

Devis was evidently a man on whom the passing 
moment made a very vivid impression and thus we find 
after the battle of Trafalgar, that he went out to meet the 
Victory, drew the cockpit, and got portraits of those who 
were with the great Admiral when he died. From these 
materials he produced the "Death of Nelson." now hanging 
in the gallery at Greenwich Hospital. To this volatile 
character may be attributed the fact that his stay in India 
does not appear to have given Devis at all an oriental turn. 

His reputation, very great in his lifetime, has not 
survived. Artists are very cold in their approval of his 
works, and though they are free from any glaring faults, or 
obvious deficiencies, they do not rank high. His life had 
been a chequered one, and it ended very suddenly in 
apoplexy in 1822. 

In connection with Devis's large Indian picture, it may 
be just mentioned that the same subject. "Cornwaliis 
receiving the sons of Tippoo," was painted by Mathew 
Brown, an American, who settled in England. Brown had 
never visited the East, and selected the incident only as 
being a picturesque one. The painting was engraved, and 
may be found in old collections. Brown was a pupil of 
West, and outlived what success he ever attained, dying in 
1831 in complete but not unhappy neglect. 

Charles Smith 

Charles Smith, who styled himself " Painter to the 
Great Mogul." was a Scotchman, a iiati\e of the Orkneys, 
who set up in London as an artist. He excelled in portraits 
and exhibited at the Academy in this branch ; and in 1792 
a fancy subject. " Shakespeare as an infant nursed between 
Tragedy and Comedy." He removed to Edinburgh in 
1793, and thence came out to India. 

Remembering who the Mogul was and the troubles of 


the times, it at first seems highly improbable that Charles 
Smith could have gone to Delhi. We know that some years 
afterwards Lord Valentia ^vas told he would be scarcely safe 
in travelling to Agra. But it so happens that in 1794 
there was a complete lull in Upper India : the blind old 
Shah Alum was to be sure a mere pensioner of Scindia ; 
but for a time he lived in comfort, and though the death 
of Scindia removed his patron early in 1794, yet the Nana 
Furnavis kept all things straight, and there seems no reason 
why Smith should not have gone up-country, nor why the 
old Mogul should not have employed his services. 

Whether any of Smith's handiwork survives, we are 
not able to state. The artist left the country in 1796 ; 
but the east does not seem to ha\e afterwards influenced 
his choice of subjects. He uas an accomplished sort of 
man apparently : for he published, in 1802, a musical 
entertainment in two acts, called " A Trip to Bengal." 

He died at Leith in 1824, having reached the good 
old age of 75. 

James Wales 

In the Council Chamber at Bombay there are three 
large pictures, the first of Baji Rao, the second of the Nana 
Furnavis, and the last of Mahdoji Scindia. All three were 
painted by Mr. James Wales, an artist who arrived in India 
in 1791, accompanied apparently by his family, as his eldest 
daughter Avas afterwards married to Sir Charles Malet, the 
Resident at Poona. and became the mother of Sir Alexander 
Malet, so well kno^vn in diplomatic circles. 

The natural taste of the artist seems to ha\'e been in 
the direction of ancient architecture and sculpture. He 
was a Scotchman, hailing from Peterhead, on the coast of 
Aberdeen, and was educated at the Marischal College in 
the local capital. His exhibited pictures at the Academy 
were portraits ; but in this country he devoted much time 
to the cave temples and other carvings, working in colla- 
boration with Thomas Daniel at the Ellora excavation. 
He worked also at Elephanta. making drawings of the 
sculptures there ; and it was in pursuit of these researches 
that he met his death. 


The jungle grows thick in that part of the island of 
Salsette, where the interesting Buddhist works are found ; 
and though the actual hill itself in which occur the caves of * 
Kannari is nearly bare, it has to be approached through 
tangles of undergrowth. Mr. Wales is reported to have 
died at Salsette, whither he had gone to make drawings 
of the excavations ; we may presume he died at Tanna, 
which is some five miles from Kannari, and unhealthy 
exposure was probably the cause of this termination of his 
labours. If he effected anything at Kannari, it does not 
seem to have been preserved, as the examination of the 
remains there is always associated with other names. We 
find no notice in the Indian Hand-book of any monument 
to this worthy man. 

John Alefounder 

Little is known of the origin of John Alefounder, but 
he got a silver medal at the Academy in 1782. He tried 
portraits in chalk, and then miniature, and both in chalk 
and oils. And afterwards he attempted oil paintings on 
large can\asses, two at least of which were good enough 
to be engraved ; and of these, again the portrait of "Peter 
the ^Vild Boy" was from the burin of Bartolozzi, and is, 
we suppose, the original of the representations generally 
given of that noble savage. 

He came out to Calcutta in 1785 and is said to have 
made a good thing of his profession. 

In the Calcutta Gazette of the 21st September, 1786 
appeared an advertisement from Mr. John Alefounder, 
portrait painter in oil and miniature. In it he announces 
that he has perfectly recovered from his late indisposition, 
and continues to take likenesses as formerly. He goes on 
to say that during his illness his pictures (which were, in 
general, portraits of friends) with his colours, canvas. Sec, 
were all sold, bv Mr. Devi's order, entirely unknown to 
him, and without his being once consulted in the business, 
though at the time he was perfectly capable of managing 
his affairs, and of practising his profession. He urgently 
begged that the gentlemen Avho had purchased any of his 
pictures, prints, painting utensils, etc. would return them 


to him, and particularly requested that the purchaser ot 
his fitch pencils would return a part of them, that they 
would be gratefully received, as none were to be procured 
in Calcutta, and he had none to paint with. 

In 1794 he sent home from Calcutta a portrait for 
exhibition at the Academy. The next year, however, he 
died in our Indian metropolis — of fever probably. 

There is a portrait of Alefounder in the possession of 
the Society of Arts, but this must not be taken as a sign of 
notoriety, but rather of friendship with Shipley, the founder 
of the society from whose brush the likeness emanated. 
This Shipley was brother to the Bishop of St. Asaph, and 
belonged to the family who supplied India with the clever 
but eccentric wife of Bishop Heber. 

Francies Swain Ward 

Of Francis Swain Ward there is little to say, except that 
he was born in London in or about 1750. and gained some 
reputation as a landscape painter. His fancy was to 
delineate old castles and mansions. He travelled about 
the counties, and made sketches from which he painted 
pictures both in oils and in water-colours. The East India 
Company, often generous in such matters, took him into 
employ later on in his life, and he came out to Calcutta, 
vand made many drawings of temples and tombs ; and 
perhaps also of some of the English houses, such as 
Belvedere, which, if it was, as Mrs. Fay says, "a perfect 
bijou," would have fallen in with Ward's tastes. He died 
in 1805. 

Samuel Ho^vdtt 

Samuel Howitt, who devoted himself almost excusively 
to the representation of animals and sporting scenes, was 
born, it is thought, about 1765. In 1793 he exhibited 
"Jacques and the Deer" we may conclude, chiefly to depict 
the wotinded stag, his swelling leathern coat, and the tear 
on his innocent nose. In 1794 he landed in Calcutta, and 
seems to have exerted himself laboriously in making draw- 
ings of the wild sports of the country, studying the tiger, 
wild boar, elephant, and so on ; for by 1801 he was ready 


■with 50 engravings. — Whether he sent these home or went 
home himself with them is not said, but it appears hkely 
he went home ; for his next pubhcation was the British 
Sportsman, a series of 70 coloured plates, and the eastern 
vein would seem to have been worked out. His drawings 
are considered to be marked with spirit and character and, 
as an etcher, he possessed great finish and truthfulness. 
His vEsop's Fables' illustrations may dwell in the memory 
of some. 

Henry Salt 

Those who ha\e read Lord Valentia's travels, ^vill 
remember that, he brought out a draftsman with him. 
This w^as Mr. Henry Salt, native of Lichfield, who 
was just starting as an artist in London. He accom- 
panied Lord Valentia for four years in different parts 
of the East, and supplied the illustrations to his lord- 
ship's work which was published in 1809. Salt was 
afterwards sent on an embassy to Abyssinia to nego- 
tiate an alliance, and on his return he published some 
views, and amongst them a few taken by him in India. He 
became a celebrated man ; but his reputation has no 
connexion with this countr}-. As Consul-General of Egypt, 
and the patron and friend of Belzoni. his name is a house- 
hold world with those who have taken up the science, which 
from its specific aims, has been termed Egyptology. 

William Westall 

William Westall was brother to Richard Westall, the 
Royal Academician, and at the early age of 19 was chosen 
to accompany Captain Finter on his voyage of Australian 
discovery. After two years' knocking about, he was wreck- 
ed on the northern shore of Australia, and was picked up 
by a ship bound for China. Arrived in that counti-y, he 
penetrated into the interior, and took sketches ; and from 
thence proceeded to Bombav and devoted much attention 
to the excavations at Karli and Elephanta. He did not. 
however, settle in this country ; but visited the Cape and 
Madeira, and accumulated many sketches of which he 
availed himself, when he found his real vein, — which was 


the illustration o£ books. India takes part in a volume of 
views published by him in 1811, and in annuals, Sec, illus- 
trations of the East from his pencil will be found. But 
the initial must be looked to, because Richard Westall illus- 
trated also in what may be called the sham oriental style^ 
as will be seen in his Arabia?! Nights. 

William John Huggins 

India has not been quite devoid of marine painters. 
William John Huggins began life as a sailor, and was in 
the service of the East India Company ; and when he 
exchanged the working of ships for the painting of them^ 
some of his first pictures were portraits of Company's \ essels. 
A few of these were engraved, and serve to give an idea of 
the kind of ship that ascended the Hooghly early in this 
country. He lived to become marine painter to William 
IV., whose nautical eye discovered that the artist knew his 
subject. There are three large pictures of the Battle of 
Trafalgar by this artist at Hampton Court, and they are 
thought good by sailors. But the artists are critical, talk 
of poverty of design, washy skies, thin seas, and so on ; and 
it seems to be settled on all hands that Huggins was no 
Backhuizen ; but he claims a place in our list as a painter 
of Indian ships. 

George Beechey 

George Beechey was the son of the Academician, Sir 
William, and practised some years in London as a portrait 
painter, having adopted the manner of his father. His^ 
father's portraits were good likenesses, and delicate in their 
colour ; but character was thought to be wanting. Sir 
William was a fashion in his time, but the fashion of this 
world passeth away, and with the father's popularity went 
the son's means of living. He came out to Calcutta about 
1830, and from that city sent home a portrait for exhibi- 
tion in 1832. Subsequently he settled at Lucknow, became 
court painter there, and we suppose that his paintings are 
not uncommon in that place. He died before the outbreak 
of the Mutiny. 

George Beechey succeeded Mr. Home as court painter 


to the Nawab of Oude, and it was said that tiie Nawab had 
permitted him to enter his zenana for the purpose of paint- 
ing the portrait of a royal favourite. 


The following paintings by Mr. Carter were advertised 
to be sold by public auction in Calcutta in December 1793: 
"Marquis Cornwallis," and the "Death of Master Law, a 
passenger in the Grosvenor," also several drawings of views 
in Bengal, and forty copies of the plan of Calcutta. 

Of Samuel Gold we kno^v nothing more than that he 
arrived in Calcutta in March 1789, and devoted himself 
exclusively to the painting of horses and dogs. In his 
advertisements it was stated that he had studied in Europe 
imder Stubbs, Gilpin, and Barrett. 

In 1795 Mr. Upjohn advertised engravings executed by 
himself of his portrait of Sir William Jones. He had pre- 
viously published a map of Calcutta in 1793 ; he died at 
Calcutta in 1800. 

Of Mr. Place, whom we have mentioned as having 
been employed at Lucknow by the Nawab Saudut Ali, we 
have failed to ascertain anything beyond the fact that it 
was proved before a committee of the House of Commons, 
that up to the end of 1805 he had received between five and 
six thousand pounds from the Nawab, and that he had 
painted pictures of the Nawab and his court. 

In October 1791, Mr. F. Dean announced his arrival 
in Calcutta, and that he ^vas prepared to take likenesses in 
crayon miniature painting. 

We have not found any trace of sculptors visiting this 
country, either in the pursuit of their profession, or in the 
case of those who represent wild animals, in its study. It 
accidentally came to our knowledge that his early death 
deprived the gifted Alfred Gatley of a favorite dream, 
which was that of visiting Indian jungles, and studying wild 
beasts in their own haunts and in their natural attitudes. 
He would have given to our tigers a greater fidelity even 
than he imparted to the lion that noAV stands over his 
Roman grave. 




Mrs. Frances Johnson — (Begum Johnson) 

Mrs. Frances Johnson, lady of Rev. William John- 
son, formerly senior chaplain, died at Calcutta at her dwel- 
ling house to the northward of the old Fort, on 3rd Febru- 
ary, 1812, in the 87th year of her age — the oldest British 
resident in Asia. She was second daughter of Edward 
Crook of Herefordshire, Governor of Fort St. David on 
the coast of Coromandel, and was born on the 10th, 

Captain Williamson wrote, in 1800, of the hospitality 
of Mrs. Johnson, during the latter period of her life : — 
"When I first came to India, there were a few ladies 
of the old school still much looked up to in Calcutta, 
and among the rest the grandmother of the Earl of 
Liverpool, the old Begum Johnson, then between 
seventy and eighty years of age. All these old ladies 
prided themselves upon keeping up old usages. They 
used to dine in the afternoon at four or five o'clock 
— take their airing after dinner in their carriages ; and 
from the time they returned till ten at night, their houses 
were lit up in their best style, and thrown open for 
the reception of visitors. All who were on visiting 
terms came at this time, with any strangers whom 
they wished to introduce, and enjoyed each other's 
society : there were music and dancing for the young, and 
cards for the old, when the party assembled happened 
to be large enough ; and a few who had been previously 
invited, stayed to supper. I often visited the old 
Begum Johnson at this hour, and met at her house 
the first people in the country, for all people, including 
the Governor-General himself, delighted to honor this 
old lady, the widow of a Governor-General of India, 
and the mother-in-lan^ of a prime minister of England. 


An Eccentric Character 

Here is a humorous description of an eccentric chara- 
cter who was known at Penang in 1824: — " Captain 

held an official position there, an excellent-hearted but most 
eccentric old man, who never could remain quiet two con- 
secutive minutes. He was noted for this, and was a source 
of great amusement to the young officers then stationed 
on the island. 

His greatest constitutional failing w^as inquisitiveness, 
a curiously not to meddle with other people's affairs and 
secrets, but to see everything that was going on in open 
day-light, and to miss none that might chance to pass him 
with whom he might exchange a word or a nod ; for the 
gratification of this passion he had invented a revolving seat 
like a music stool, in the centre of his palankeen carriage. 

Wheeling rapidly round and roimd on this, as his car- 
riage went from place to place, he kept continually bow- 
ing and chattering to those that passed, to the infinite 
delight of a parcel of raw ensigns, who occupied their hours 
in scampering after him on their Acheen ponies from noon 
till nightfall. 

Another singular propensity the old gentleman pos- 
sessed was that of finding out what every one in the place 
intended to have for dinner : and for this express purpose, 
turning out early of a morning, he used to waylay the 
cooks and native servants as they returned from market of 
a morning, and pry into the contents of each basket, giving 
utterance to his extreme satisfaction at the appearance of 
some favourite joint or vegetable, bv frequent repetition 
of the Hindostanee words bhot atcha (very good), and then 
walk off whistling, in search of the next comer. 

Many who have been in the Straits may remember the 
strange but kind old man. for he was a prince in regard to 
hospitality, and his prying into other people's kitchen 
affairs secured only an incentive to his kindlv meant invi- 

Young Bengal in 1780 

Mrs. Kindersley remarked in 1767, "neither Maho- 
medans nor Hindoos ever change in their dress, ftn-niture, 
carriages or any other things." 


Her remarks are not applicable to the natives of later 
times, who have altered considerably both in their dress 
and their mode of life. "Young Bengal," with his chop 
house, champagne tiffins, and his lecture clubs, did not 
exist then, but a person, of such a character appeared, it is 
stated, in 1780 : — "The attachment of the natives of Ben- 
gal to the English laws begins now to extend itself to Eng- 
lish habiliment. Rajah Ramlochun, a very opulent 
Gentoo, of high caste and family lately paid a visit to a very 
eminent attorney, equipped in boots, buckskin breeches, 
hunting frock, and Jockey cap. 

The lawyer, who was employed for the improve- 
ment of the revenues of Bengal, was in great as- 
tonishment at the lively transformation of his grave 
Gentoo client, who, it seems was dressed in the exact hunt- 
ing character of Lord March, and had borrowed the fancy 
from one of Dardy's comic prints. The Nabob Sidert 
Alley, when lately at the Presidency, employed Connor, the 
tailor, to make him the following dresses, viz., two suits of 
of regimentals, ditto of an English admiral's uniform, and 
two suits of canonicals. 

At the same time he sent for an English peruke maker, 
and gave him orders to make him two wigs of every deno- 
mination according to the English fashion, viz., scratches, 
cut wigs, and curled obba, queues, majors, and Ramilies ; 
all of which he took with him when he left Calcutta." 

Funeral of Hindoo Rao 

Maharaja Hindoo Rao. a Mahratta Chief, lived in 
Delhi, and was noted for his hospitality and expensive enter- 
tainments. His house ^vas on a ridge of small hills imme- 
diately overlooking Delhi, which was during the mutiny 
made famous as the position of one our batteries. Hindoo 
Rao died in 1854. His funeral is thus described by Mr. 
Lang : — ^"They dressed up the old gentleman's corpse in 
his most magnificent costume, covered his arms with jewel- 
led bracelets of gold, with costly necklaces of pearls and 
diamonds hanging down to his waist, placed him in a chair 
of state, sat him bolt upright — just as he used to sit when 
alive — and thus, attended by his relations, friends and suite. 


he was carried through Delhi to the banks of the Jumna 
where the body was burnt with the usual rites and the 
ashes thrown into the river." 

John Farquhar 

A little above Muneerampore are the Powder Works 
at Ishapore, formerly under the superintendence of John 
Farquhar, who contrived to amass the colossal fortune, as 
it was said, of eighty lakhs of rupees. It is an act of justice 
to his memory to state, that the whole of this sum was not 
accumulated from the perquisities, fair or unfair, of his 
official post ; a considerable proportion of it was the result 
of the unrivalled parsimony ojE this prince of Indian misers, 
who contracted with the solitary servant of his house to 
supply his table for two annas a day ! On his return to 
England, he is said to have offered to endow one of the 
Scottish universities with £1000.000, to establish a profes- 
sorship of atheism, but the offer was of course rejected. 

John Shipp 

The history of John Shipp is one of the most remark- 
able on record for the marvellous escapes he had during his 
service, He was the leader of almost every "forlorn hope," 
and though often left for dead on the field seemed to have 
a magic life. We will here give only one instance of his 
"fool hardiness" some would call it, but we would rather say 
his fearlessness. 

The 87th Regiment seems to have formed the advance 
guard of the division which penetrated the supposed im- 
practicable defiles which led to the enemy's strong fort of 
Muckwanpore, and was often in action. When near Muck- 
wanpore, the following incident took place : — "Two of our 
men w^ere brought before the commanding officer, for ha\'- 
ing gone beyond the outlying piquet. The fact was, that 
these impudent fellows had been upon the hill, where the 
piquet had been unarmed. After admonishing them for 
their imprudence and disobedience of orders, the com- 
manding officer asked one of them what he saw ; he replied. 
"Nothing at all. your honor, but a great big piquet ; and 
sure they were not there, but all gone." He added, that. 


"all their fires were alight, because he saw them burning." 

"And what did you see on the other side of this first 
hill ?" asked the colonel, trying to smother a laugh. 

"Nothing at all, your honour." 

"Are there hills or valleys on the other side ?" 

"Neither, your honor ; only a mighty big mountain, as 
big as the hill of Howth." 

"Did you see any men ?" 

"Divel a one, your honor, except one poor old woman 
in one of the huts, and she was after going when she saw 
me and Pat Logan coming near her." 

"What took you there ?" 

"Faith ? we both went to take a big walk, for we were 
quite tired doing nothing — that's all, your honor ; so I hope 
no offence." 

Sir John Malcolm's Facetiousness 

Lieutenant Shipp in his memoirs tells us the following 
anecdote of Sir John Malcolm : — 

"I should recommend all people subject to liver com- 
plaints to pay Sir John a visit, if opportunity favours them, 
and I wotild wager ten to one that, in one month, he would 
laugh most of them out of their complaints. I was myself 
suffering under a violent attack when I was his guest, and 
the smallest emotion, more particularly that caused by 
laughter, was attended with most excruciating pain ; but 
our host could almost make a dead man laugh. The con- 
sequence was that I laughed to some purpose, for I actually 
got rid of my complaint. Sir John generally made it a 
point of getting me close to him. He said to me one 
morning. "Shipp, did I ever tell you the story of my being 
invited to breakfast off a dead colonel ?" 

I answered, "No Sir John ; nor are my poor sides in a 
state to hear it." 

"Oh, but I must tell you ; it's rather a serious story 
than otherwise." 

Finding there was no escape. I put both my hands to 
my sides ( a necessary precaution to prevent them from 
bursting), and listened attentively. 

Sir John had a peculiar manner of relating anecdotes. 


which, for effect, I have never seen equalled, and a sort of 
squeaking voice, in which he generally spoke, especially 
when pleased, added greatly to the drollery of his stories. 
"I was invited to breakfast," said Sir John, "with a queer 
old colonel of the Bombay Artillery. This colonel was 
famous for giving good breakfast, so I accepted his invita- 
tion, and w^ent to his residence rather early, where I walked 
without ceremony into the breakfast room. It is customary 
in India, when breakfast things are laid, to throw a table 
cloth over the whole, to keep the flies off. I thought it 
strange that I did not see a single servant ; but I walked 
up and down the room very contentedly, for nearly a quar- 
ter of an hour. At last I got quite hungry, so I thought I 
would help myself to a biscuit. For this purpose, I lifted 
end of the cloth, and the first object that met my eye, was 
— the colonel's head ?" 

Just at that instant Sir John Malcolm struck me a 
violent blow on the shoulders, which so startled me, 
that I really thought the dead colonel was on my back. 
From that time, however, I lost all symptoms of the liver 

Tiger Wood 

Sir George was known in India as Tiger Wood, not 
from being a great tiger shooter, but from his savage dis- 
position. He went home with thirty lakhs, for he always said 
he was determined to have more than Sir Mark. But al- 
though Sir George Wood was determined to make a large 
fortune in India, he is known to have acted on many 
occasions with great liberality ; for instance, when a meet- 
nig took place in Calcutta for the purpose of raising a subs- 
cription for Warren Hastings, who was being proseculed 
at the time, and the people present at the meeting seemed 
to hesitate as to what sums they should put down opposite 
their names, Colonel Wood exclaimed, "Give that paper 
to me," and then added — "There I have put dow^n my name 
for £10,000, and if more is required I will give another 
£10,000." Few men, even with Sir George's fortune would 
have acted so noble a part, but on all occasions his conduct 
was the same : and though a great martinet he was not what 
most of these class of officers are — "a contemptible bully." 


On one occasion he had severely reprimanded the surgeon 
of his regiment, (Dr. WooUey of the InvaHds), and upon 
hearing that the Dr. said he only took advantage of his 
position to insult him, Colonel Wood sent word to the Dr. 
that he would give him satisfaction if he wanted it ; upon 
which the Dr. called him out, and when on the ground 
Colonel Wood told him to fire first. He did so but missing 
his commanding officer, Colonel Wood then called to him, 
saying "'Now, Sir, where will you have it ?" the Dr. out of 
derision put his hand on his seat of honor ; "take it there," 
said Colonel Wood, and immediately put a ball into his 
head's antipodes, as the part is called by George Coleman 
the younger. 

Lieutenant-General Cleiland 

Of many anecdotes of his early service, only known to 
his old friends, one will suffice to illustrate his character. 
At the last attempt to storm Bhurtpoor, by Lord Lake, on 
21st February, 1805, it is well known that the retreat, as 
ordered, soon became a hasty rtish, where all were inter- 
mingled in striving to reach the trenches, while sixty pieces 
of well served heavy guns were playing on the retiring mass. 
All ran, though many were there who never ran from shot 
before or since. Amongst the rest, a fine, active Grenadier, 
a private of Her Majesty's 65th Regiment, passed Lieute- 
nant Cleiland, but was knocked down, his leg broken by a 
cannon-ball. He called piteously to be carried to the tren- 
ches, then so near: but galled by the tremendous, all 
passed on regardless of everything in their eagerness to gain 
the cover. 

When Lieutenant Cleiland got there, the poor fellow's 
cry. though no longer heard, seemed still sounding in his 
ears. He determined to try and save him. Rushing from 
the trenches he lifted him on his back, and staggering 
under the load, the shot ploughing the ground on each side, 
he heroically bore him to the place of safety amid the shouts 
of the spectators. 

Thomas Corvat 

The "Odcombian leg-stretcher", as he used to call him- 
self, was the first Etnopean tra\'eller who ever came out to 
India on a tour of pleasure. 


On the death of his father in 1606, he felt himself at 
liberty to gratify a "very burning desire", which he said 
had long "itched in him, to survey and contemplate some of 
the choicest parts of this goodly fabric of the world." So in 
May 1608, he left Dover, and travelled through France, and 
as far as Venice, returning by way of Germany, wath very 
little money in his pocket. During the five months he was 
absent, he travelled 1,977 miles, of which he had Avalked 
900, and the same pair of shoes lasted throughout the 
journey. He hung these shoes up in Odcombe Church for 
a memorial and they remained there till 1702. 

He published his travels in a bulk quarto volume on 
his return, under the strange title of "Corvat's Crudities, 
hastily gobbled up in 5 months' travels in France, Savoy, 
Italy. Rhetia, commonly called the Orison's country, Hel- 
xet'm alias Switzerland, some parts of High Germany, and 
the Netherlands; newly digested in the hungry air of Od- 
combe in the country of Somerset and now dispersed to the 
nourishment of the travelling members of this kingdom." 

The year following the publication of the "Crudities", 
1612, he departed on a more extended journey. He visited 
Constantinople, where he made a brief stay, went over 
various parts of Greece, and was much delighted in explor- 
ing the A'estiges of Troy. He then went to Jerusalem, and 
visited all the sacred historic localities in Palestine. Thence 
he went to Alleppo, and so through Persia to Agra, the seat 
of the Mogul's court, "spending", he says, in his journey 
betwixt Jerusalem and the Mogul's court," fifteen months 
and odd days all of which I traversed afoot, the total distance 
being 2,700 English miles, and expended only three 
pounds sterling yet fared reasonably well e\ery way." 

Louis Bonnaud 

This gentleman came out to Bengal in 1779 or there- 
abouts, and was the first person who started an indigo fac- 
tory. Soon after his arrival he took the lease of a "garden", 
at Taldanga, in the Hooghly district, and built there a 
small indigo factory. This place is situated to the north of 
Chandernagore. Here, however, he found that no great 
quantity of land could be obtained, and it being inconveni- 


ently far from the river, he leased a large "garden", at Gon- 
dolpara on the bank of the Hcoghly, near Telinipara, to the 
south of Chandernagore, where he built a pair of small 
vats and a press house. From Chandernagore Monsieur 
Bonnaud appears to have proceeded to the Maldah district, 
^vhere he in connection with three wealthy Englishmen, 
one of whom was named Adams, built an indigo factory,^ 
and as lime was a scarce article in that locality they exhum- 
ed human skeletons from a neighbouring Mahomedan 
graveyard and converted them into that necessary material. 
While residing in his garden house at Hazinagore, in 
Chandernagore, on the Rue de Paris, he established a large 
canvas and t^vine factory, which flourished for some time 
but unfortunately it was at last burnt down, by which the 
owner suffered considerable loss. 

Colonel Martinez 

In one of those old books of Indian memoirs, which 
are generally instructive and always entertaining, we find 
the following account of a certain Colonel Martinez, who 
at the close of the last century was in the service of the 
"Nabob" of Arcot, as he was called. "Of all the hospitable 
men in the most hospitable country in the world", says the 
author from whom ^ve quote, "this extraordinary old 
gentleman stood foremost. 

He had a large, well appointed house, and received 
with a hearty w^elcome as his guests all who chose to come 
to it. He had a cellar or godown full of the choicest liquors, 
and amongst the rest, pipes of madeira of various ages, 
strung by ropes from the roof, to which he decreed a 
'Europe voyage', as he called it. every time that the door 
was opened, by making a servant swing them about for 
some minutes. His wine paid no duty, and was seldom 
bottled, but ^vas drawn for immediate use. He was a man 
of few words and directed his servants by snapping his 
fingers, or by whistling. 

Rev. George Crawfurd 

\V'hile George Craivfurd was chaplain at Allahabad, 
aboiu 1830, the sepoys of the Native Infantry were in the 


habit when on duty in the fort, of coming uninvited to Mr. 
Crawfurd's quarters, and asking him to come and tell them 
about the Christian religion. Their invitation ^\^as accept- 
ed, and Mr. Crawfurd, and his catechist, found on entering 
the lines, a space decently cleared, with two chairs placed for 
them, and actually a desk for their books. Mr. Crawfurd 
and his catechist took their seats, and proceeded to explain 
the English Church catechism to the listening crowd of 

While thus engaged, a shadow fell over the circle, and 
looking up, they saw an elephant passing, on ^vhich sat two 
officers, whose looks betokened no good will to 'tvhat ^vas 
going on. BiU the minister went on with his class. Pres- 
ently, however, a murmur arose that the commanding 
officer was coming; and as the sepovs fell back, the chaplain 
found himself confronted by the major, evidentlv greatlv 
excited. The chaplain rose from his chair, and the folloAv- 
ing conversation ensued : — 

Major — What is this, Mr. Crawfurd ? 
Chaplain — What do you mean. Sir ? 
Major — Why, Sir, I mean, that you are preaching to 
the sepoys. You are exciting my men to insubordination. 
You will cause an insurrection. Sir. and we shall all be 
murdered at midnight. 

Chaplain — The sepoys invited me to come, and I am 
here by their desire. 

Major — That must be false ! 

Chaplain — Ask the sepoys yourself. Sir. 

The assembly Avas then dispersed. But next day, 

General Marley, who commanded the di\'ision, sent for Mr. 

Crawfurd. The General T\as a kind man and was believed 

to have no objection to what had been done, but vielding to 

the argument of Major .he repro\ed Mr. Crawfurd, 

and repeated the very expression of the major that the 
officers would be all murdered in their beds some night if 
this went on. A reference was then made to the Go\ernor- 
General. Lord William Bentinck. on the subject. It was 
understood that Lord William's own judgment was over- 
borne by the advisers around him. but be that as it may, 
orders Avere conveyed through Archdeacon Corrie to Mr. 


Crawfurd, that he was not to visit the sepoys in their lines 
again. Mr. Crawfurd said to the General. "W^hat if the 
sepoys \isit me at my house ?" General Marley did not 
belie\'e they Avould, and said laughingly, that he was wel- 
come to preach to all who came to him there. The sepoys 
did come to Mr. Crawfurd in the fort, as before; and Mr. 
C. preached to them. The instruction resulted in several 
sepoys becoming candidates for baptism. Mr. Crawfurd, 
after what had happened, thought it right to ask the Arch- 
deacon for lea\e to baptise them; and the Archdeacon, after 
again taking the Governor-General's orders, replied that he 
was deeply giieved indeed to be placed in such a position, 
but must prohibit his baptising the sepoy candidates ! 
These proceedings were follo^ved by the issue of orders to 
all chaplains, that they were not to speak at all to the native 
soldiery on the subject of religion. 

A Veteran Madras Doctor 

Dr. Thomas Key entered the local service while the 
nineteenth century was still young, and died an octogena- 
rian. He was to the last a hale and hearty specimen of the 
good old school of Indian doctors. Raised in Edinburgh, 
he was nothing if he was not, before all things a Scot. He 
died as he had li\ed, a confirmed bachelor. Possessed of a 
pension of some £600 to£700 a year and an annuity £400 
besides from the Medical Fund, he was "passing rich" in 
"Modern Athens," which he regarded as the best of all 
possible towns for a man Avho had done his work to spend 
his declining years in. He knew that he had an incurable pre- 
disposition to heart disease, and he warned his servants that 
one day he might be brought home dead. But "pallida 
mors" often passed him by. and he outlived most of his ser- 
vice contemporaries. At length, however, the day that he 
had predicted dawned. It Avas Sunday, the 11th January, 
1880. He rose as usual, and. in accordance with his long 
habit, he walked from his house to attend morning service 
at St. John's Church. He arrived at his destination, 
took his seat, and a few seconds afterwards his head was 
observed to droop, as if he was dozing or fainting. Assis- 
tance was immediately rendered, but it was too late, for the 


thread of lite had been snapped, and he had died ^vithout a 

Begum Suniroo and Lord Lake 

At the age of fifty or thereabouts, the Begum Sumroo 
was a lady of mark; she had money, influence and consider- 
able territories. When Lord Lake was driving Scindia and 
the French battalions out of the North-West Provinces, he 
was anxious to gain over the Begum to the British cause. 
One day after he had dined in the style which prevailed in 
the beginning of the century, he was told that the Begum 
had come to visit him. He rushed out. flushed with wine, 
forgot all the proprieties, and kissed the Begum on the spot. 
Horror and dismay sat upon the countenances of the 
Begum's followers. It must have been a strange sight for 
European officers to see an English General over sixty sud- 
denly kiss a fat native woman of fifty. 

But the sight was a greater shock to the orientals than 
it would have been to Mr. Bumble the Beadle. The 
Begimi, however, pulled the General through. She had 
great presence of mind. Moreover she had been converted 
to Christianity, and possibly had her o^vn notions about 
kissing. "It is", said she, "the salute of a padree (priest) to 
his daughter." The native mind quieted down, but Lord 
Lake's kiss was famous for half a century. 

Mrs. Carey 

Mrs. Carey, one of the few survivors of the imprison- 
ment in the Black Hole, died at Calcutta on the 28th 
March, 1801. The follo^ving interesting notes regarding 
her are from a fly leaf at the end of one of Holwell's Tracts : 
August 13, 1799 — "This forenoon between the hours of 10 
and 1 1 o'clock, visited bv appointment, in company with 
Mr. Charles Child, at her house in Calcutta, situated in an 
angle at the head of the Portuguese Church Street, and east 
of the chtirch, Mrs. Carey, the last sur\i\ or of those unfor- 
tunate persons who ^vere imprisoned in the Black Hole at 
Calcutta, on the capture of that place in 1756 by Seraj-ud- 
Dowla. This lady, now fifty-eight years of age, as she her- 
self told me, is of a size rather above the common stature r 
and very well proportioned : of a fair Mesticia colour, with 


correct regular features, which give evident marks ot 
beauty which must once have attracted admiration. She 
confirmed all ^vhich Mr. Holwell had said on the subject of 
the Black Hole in his letters, and added that besides her 
husband, her mother, Mrs. Eleanor Watson (her name by 
second marriage), and her sister, aged about ten years, had 
also perished therein, and that other women, the w^ives of 
soldiers, and children, had shared a like fate there." 

General's Daughter 

General, Avitabile, a Frenchman who resided so many 
vears at Lahore, had a daughter (the child of some 
favourite beauty in his harem) on whom he doted. He 
brought her up and watched over her, with jealous care, in 
a cloisterlike building, which till some years back might be 
seen in the garden of the general's house. Here she spent 
the years of her youth and grew up a lovely girl. So care- 
fully -was all access to her guarded, that even her meals, were 
conveyed to her from without by means of a tour, such as 
are used at con\ent gates. — The \ery shadov.' of a man had 
ne\"er crossed the threshold of her retreat. And for what 
high and romantic destinv does the reader think this fair 
recluse was reserved ? Alas for facts — Avitabile married her 
to his cook, a young Mahomedan, to whom he also gave 
with her a large dowry of money, jewels and precious 
stones ! 

Henry Vansittart 

On the 7th October. 1786, died after a few days' ill- 
ness, Henry Vansittart, Esq., universally beloved, admired 
and lamented. 

'In him the Company have lost a faithful and most 
able servant, to Tvhose integrity and indefatigable assiduity 
thev are principally indebted for the success which has at- 
tended Mr. Hastings' plan for the manufacture of salt, 
whereby the revenues have been increased to 50 lakhs of 
rupees per annum. The natives, who were placed under 
his orders and protection, looked up to him as their com- 
mon father, and alwavs found him ready to hear their com- 
Dlaints. accommodate their differences, and redress their 


wrongs. His domestic \ irtues were such as might be ex- 
pected from his public character : a dutiful son, an affec- 
tionate husand, a fond parent and a sure and acti\e friend. 
With an intimate knowledge of the Greek and Latin 
classics, he possessed an elegant taste for oriental writings, 
and was eminently learned in the Arabic and Persian lan- 
guages. He translated several poems from the Arabic, and. 
from the Persian, the history of the first ten years of Alum- 
geer; and had he been spared to the ^vorld some time long- 
er, we might have expected from him a complete and auth- 
entic history of that interesting reign, with other useful 
works. He was one of the brightest ornaments of the Asia- 
tic Society, and some of his valuable tracts, we understand, 
are to be published amongst their transactions." 

Madame Grand 

This lady, was the daughter of M. Werlee. Capitaine 
du Port, and Che\alier de Saint Louis. She was married to 
M. Grand before she had attained her sixteenth year, and 
in rather less than twelve months of her marriage had form- 
ed a warm friendship for Mr. (afterguards Sir Philip) Fran- 
cis. The husband brought an action against Francis in the 
Suprem.e Court, and on the 6th May, 1776. obtained a ver- 
dict against him with Rs. 50,000 damages. The judges 
were Sir Elijah Impey. Sir Edward Hyde and Sir Robert 
Chambers. It is said that Hyde ^vished to fix the damages 
at a lakh of rupees. Chambers thought that no damages 
should be given, but ultimatelv named Rs. 30.000. Impey 
took a middle course, and fixed Rs. 50.000. As he ^vas de- 
claring the verdict Hvde interrupted him by calling out. 
^'siccas, brother Impey; siccas !" The damages were accord- 
ingly assessed at 50,000 sicca rupees. 

After the discovery of her liaison, Madame Grand \\-ent 
to Hooghly, and lived there for some time under Francis's 
protection. She then sailed for England, and there met 
Talleyrand, whom she accompanied to Paris. In July 1802. 
a Papal Bull having absolved Talleyrand from his priestlv 
vowes, he married her. Shortlv after W'aterloo thev sepa- 
rated, and she revisited England for a short time, and then 
returned to Paris, where she died in December, 1835. 


The Two Brothers Skinner 

The following traits of character in the two brothers 
Skinner, are given by Miss Eden in her work "Up the Coun- 
try" : — "Delhi, Feb. 20 — Yesterday we went to the church 
built by Colonel Skinner. He is a native of the country, 
and talks broken English. He has had a regiment of Irre- 
gular Horse for the last forty years, and has done all sorts 
of gallant things; had seven horses killed under him and 
been wounded in proportion ; has made several fortunes and 
lost them; has built himself several fine houses, and has his 
zenana and heaps of sons like any other native. He built 
this church, which is a very curious building and very mag- 
nificent — in some respects; and within sight of it there is a 
mosque which he has also built because he said that one 
way or the other he should be sure to go to hea\ en. His Pro- 
testant Church has a dome in the mosque fashion, and I 
was quite afraid that with the best disposition to attend to 
Mr. Y., little visions of Mahomet would be creeping in. 
Skinner's brother, Major Robert Skinner, was the same sort 
of melodramatic character, and made a tragic end. He sus- 
pected one of his wives of a slight ecart from the part of 
of propriety — very unjustly it is said — but he called her and 
all his servants together, cut off the heads of e\ery indivi- 
dual in his household, and then shot himself. His soldiers 
bought every article of his property at ten times its value, 
that they might possess relics of a man who had shown, they 
said, such a quick sense of honor." (1839). 

Sir Herbert Edwardes 

It is well kno^vn that Herbert Ed^vardes when a lieute- 
nant, first attracted attention by some very severe articles 
on the doings of the Government, and signed "Brahminee 
Bull", which were published in the Delhi Gazette. With 
mingled generosity and shrewdness Lord Hardinge ga\e 
young Ed^vardes an appointment. A great dinner party 
was given by Lord Hardinge after his entrv into Lahore, at 
which Edwardes was present, and on which occasion the 
appointment was being much canvassed by the guests. At 
the table the present Commander-in-Chief at Bombay 
(1882), Lord Hardinge, then a lieutenant serving on his 


father's staff, took advantage of a lull in the conversation, 
and asked Edwardes to drink a glass of wine. All eyes 
were turned upon the youthful hero. Sir C. Napier scan- 
ned him curiously, when Arthur Hardinge said, bowing to 
Edwardes, "Your good health; I suppose you will not write 
any more Brahminee Bull articles now ?" There was a roar 
of laughter, for that was exactly what every body was think- 
ing. No one was more amused than the Governor-General, 
who evidently thoroughly appreciated the joke. 

Mons. Raymond 

Mons. Raymond died about the 15th March, 1798, at 
Hyderabad. This officer, who had by his talent and enter- 
prise elevated himself to a higher rank and fortune than 
had ever before been attained by any European in the same 
profession, was a frenchman, and had served under Lally 
in Mysore. About 1789 he entered the service of Nizam 
Ally Khan, of Hyderabad, by whom he was engaged to 
raise a corps of 500 men, and with these men, increased to 
700, he shared with the troops of the Nizam in the war with 
Tippoo, and greatly distinguished himself. He afterwards 
commanded a corps of 5000 men, and when the Nizam's 
son Aly Jah, rose in rebellion against his father, Raymond 
was sent to reduce the prince. The effectual manner in 
which he performed this duty raised him to the eminence 
he latterly attained. He now raised his army to 15,000 
men, besides artillery and cavalry, and to pay these troops 
a jaghire was assigned to him. He lived with the magni- 
ficence of a prince, and was beloved by all. He was 
succeeded in his military command by Mons. Perron. 

Sir Thomas Rumbold 

Sir Thomas Rumbold, formerly Governor of Madras, 
is said to have been a waiter, or boots, at Arthur's Club in 
London. The following throws some light on the origin 
of the story which used to be told about the old "Nabob" 
Governor of Madras, who, however could not have been a 
bad sort of fellow, considering that Robert Clive thought 
him worthy of being his Aide-de-Camp at the memorable 
battle of Plassey. Sir Thomas Rumbold was so vilified 



and misrepresented in his day, that about twenty years ago 
one of his daughters, then an elderly lady, published an 
interesting work entitled "The Vindication of Sir Thomas 

Hadjee Mustapha 

An eccentric character passed away in August 1791, at 
Calcapore. His name was Hadjee Mustapha, and native 
of France ; many years pre\'ious he had become a proselyte 
to the Mahomedan faith, had made a pilgrimage to Mecca, 
and had ever since continued in the observance of the 
ceremonies of the Mussalman religion. He was possessed 
of considerable literary talents, and some time before his 
death published an English translation of Seid Gholam 
Hossein Khan's Persian History of India. 

Charles Schmaltze, the inventor of the Flute 

"At Calcutta, on the 28th October, 1799, Mr. Charles 
Schmaltze, a gentleman in whom the arts and sciences have 
to deplore the loss of one of their brightest ornaments, his 
family, his friends and society in general of a man whose 
virtues and amiable qualities will ever be deeply engraved 
on their hearts. Mr. Schmaltze's skill in chemistry induced 
the Academy of Sciences of Paris, of as hich he was a mem- 
ber, to request of him an analysis of the mineral waters of 
the Isles of France and of Bourbon, as well as to investigate 
the subject of mineralogy in general, in that part of the 
world. He was not only deeply versed in the principles of 
mathematics and mechanics, but displayed uncommon 
ingenuity in the application of them to engineering, 
gunnery and various other branches. Nor did these severe 
.studies so much engross his mind as to make him neglect 
the cultivation of those which more particularly serve to 
embellish and enliven society. His taste in music was 
acknowledged by the best judges, and hardly was there an 
instrument that he did not touch with the hand of a master, 
but his exquisite performance on the flute (of "which 
instrument he was the inventor) will be long remembered 
by all who were present at the oratorio performed last year 
for the benefit of the children of the Free School. Mr. S. 


devoted that latter part of a life, which had been uniformly 
spent in the exercise of superior talents to useful purposes, 
to the invention of a composition by which he proposed to 
supersede the use of the graving tool on metals, by 
producing the same effect but with greater precision and 
which, had the invention received the finishing stroke of 
the author's hand, would probably ha%'e carried the art of 
engraving on copper, and cutting letters, to the last degree 
of perfection." — Calcutta Gazette. 

Sir Charles Napier 

Sir Charles was married to a lady of strong though 
gentle character, and he delighted in relating an adventure 
which once befell the pair, very characteristic of both. He 
and Lady Napier were riding one evening, unattended, on 
the summit of the Mahableshwur Hills. The sun had just 
set. the pathway was narrow, bordered on one side by jungle 
and on the other by a deep precipice. Turning suddenly 
to his wife, he desired her to ride on at full speed imme- 
diately to the nearest village, and send some people back 
to the spot where she left him, and not to ask him the 
reason why he sent her. She obeyed in silence. It was 
no slight trial of her courage as well as of her obedience, 
for the way was lonely and beset with many possible perils, 
but she rode rapidly and boldly forward and gained a 
village at some distance in safety. 

The party whom she then despatched and accom- 
panied, met Sir Charles, however, about a mile from the 
place, following in his lady's track ; and he then explained 
the reason of his strange and unquestionable command. 
He had seen, as they slo^vly ^valked their horses, four savage 
eyes gleam at him from the jungle, and believed that they 
belonged either to tigers or cheetahs, the hunting leopards. 
He was aware, that if they both rode off, the creatures, 
following the instinct of their nature, would be sure to 
chase them. He feared lest, if Lady Napier knew the 
fearful kind of peril they were in, she would be startled, 
and unfit to make any attempt at escape, or at least that 
she would not consent to his own judicious plan ; so he 
tested her obedience, as we have seen successfully. 


He remained himself, confronting, and probably 
controlling the wild beasts with his eagle eye ; for, after a 
short gaze and a muttered giowl, they retreated into the 
jungle, and he was free to follow his Avife. 

The General was alike feared and adored by the 
natives. He understood their character, and thev were 
dazzled by his splendid soldierly qualities. 

We have often found, when speaking to them of the 
hero of Scinde, that there was some strange connexion in 
their minds between him and the comet or nebulous light, 
which, as they asserted, predicted the fall of the Ameers. 
Nay, we have heard it asserted that the Scindians looked 
on our General as a sort of incarnation of Zatanoi, and that 
the fear inspired by his laconic proclamation — "Beloo- 
chees ! I am coming up with 10,000 men to drive all to 
the devil ! " — greatly assisted the might of his arms. 

We have heard an incident related which tends to 
prove the effect this Spartan-like abruptness and known 
resolution had on the Eastern enemy whilst Sir Charles was 
in Scinde. A fort was held by a formidable and desperate 
robber, and the General, who could ill spare the time 
required to reduce it, ordered a young officer of his army 
to go, totally unarmed, into the hold of the chieftain, and 
deliver the following message : — "Come out to me. or,. 

by , I will come and fetch you ! " The summons was 

instantly obeyed, as if Eblis himself had pronounced it. and 
the fort was surrendered to the English. 

Lord Clive 

After his arrival at Madras, there are some anecdotes 
tending to prove that he was ill suited to the condition of 
life in which he was placed. His impatience of control 
and wayward and impracticable firmness never forsook 
him. On one occasion it appears that his conduct to the 
Secretary under whom the writers were placed on their 
arrival, was so inconsistent with the rules of official 
discipline, that the Governor, to whom it was reported, 
commanded him to ask that gentleman's pardon. With 
this order he complied rather ungraciously ; but, tlie 
Secretary immediately after before his irritation had time 


to subside, having invited him to dinner, — "No, Sir," 
replied Clive. "the Governor did not command me to dine 
^vith you." He is stated to have hazarded on more than 
one occasion, the loss of the service by acts of wildness, and 
a story was long current that, either in a fit of despair, or 
of low spirits, to which he was subject from his earliest 
vears, he made, at this period, an attempt upon his own 
life. A companion, coming into his room in Writer's 
Buildings was requested to take up a pistol and fire it out 
of the window ; he did so. 

Clive, who was sitting in a very gloomy mood, sprang 
up, and exclaimed — "Well, I am reserved for something ! 
That pistol," said he to his astonished friend, "I have twice 
snapped at my own head." 

This is not unlikely to be true, nor is its probability 
contradicted by his never having spoken of it to any of his 
family after his return to England. 

General George Thomas and his Eastern City 

Mr. Thomas in the year 1797 fought four successive 
actions against the Sikhs, in which the latter lost twice as 
many men as the former. An advantageous treaty was 
afterwards entered into between the belligerents. It was 
about the middle of 1798, that our hero first formed the 
eccentric and arduous design of erecting an independant 
principality for himself. He laid siege to and took the 
fort of Hurrianah and several other strongholds, and for 
his capital he selected the town of Hansi. "Here" says 
Mr. Thomas, with that energy and spirited animation, 
which distinguished him throughoiU the scenes of his 
extraordinary life, "I established my capital, rebuilt the 
walls of the city, long since fallen into decay, and repaired 
the fortifications. As it had been long deserted, at first I 
found difficulty in procuring inhabitants, but by degiees 
and gentle treatment, I selected between five and six 
thousand persons, to whom I allowed every lawful indul- 
gence. I established a mint, and coined my own rupees, 
^vhich I made current in my army and country ; as from 
the commencement of my career at Jyjur. I had resolved 
to establish an independency, I employed workmen and 


artificers of all kinds, and I now judged that nothing but 
force of arms could maintain me in my authority. I 
therefore increased their numbers, cast my own artillery, 
commenced making musquets, matchlocks and powder, 
and in short, made the best preparations for carrying on 
an offensive and defensive war, till at length having gained 
a capital and country bordering on the Sikh territories, I 
wished to put myself in a capacity, when a favourable 
opportunity should offer, of attempting the conquest of 
the Punjab, and aspired to the honour of planting the 
British standard on the banks of the Attock." 

Lord Clive's Moderation 

Having placed Meer Jaffier on the musnud at 
Moorshedabad, and entered into solemn engagements with 
him for a strict union and mutual support, Cli^ e returned 
to Calcutta on urgent public and private duties. The 
wealth he acquired from this revolution excited em y at 
the moment, and became afterwards a subject of reproach 
and even of accusation. The illiberal charges are best 
answered in the following emphatic observation of Clive 
himself when personally accused at the committee meeting 
in Calcutta, of having received upwards of 100,000/. soon 
after the battle of Plassey — "If any gentleman." said Clive, 
"had privately asked me if that charge was true, I should 
have frankly acknowlkedged to him, that I had received a 
larger sum ; but when I recollect the Nawab's treasury at 
Moorshedabad. with heaps of gold and silver to the right 
and left ; and these crowned with jewels," striking his 
hand violently on his head, "by God, at this moment, do I 
stand astonished at my own moderation." 



The Calcutta Chronicle of February 19, 1789, relates, 
with strong expressions of disapprobation, an instance of the 
punishment of a gang of dacoits found guilty of burglary at 
a place near Kishnaghur, and sent by Francis Redfearn, Esq., 
to be tried at the Criminal Court at Sulkea, on the western 
bank of the river, opposite to Calcutta : — 

"At 1 o'clock, on Sunday, February 15th, the fourteen 
criminals were brought out to undergo the sentence passed 
upon them, to the Sair Bazar, a little to the southward of 
the Orphan House. The horrible scene is thus described : 
One of the dacoits was extended upon his back, with a fillet 
or band covering his mouth, and tied at the back of his 
head, to prevent his cries being heard by the others, who 
were witnesses of the fate they were themselves to experience. 
He was then pinioned to the ground with only his right 
hand and left leg at liberty. This done, the operator began 
to amputate the hand. It was performed with an instru- 
ment like a car\'ing knife, not at a stroke, but by cutting 
and hacking round about the wrist, to find out the joint ; 
and in about three minutes the hand was off. The same 
mode ^\as observed in amputating the foot at the ankle 
joint. Both operations took up together from six to eight 
minutes in performing. After the hand and foot were off, 
the extremities of the wounded parts were dipped in boil- 
ing ghee ; and then he was left to his fate. The other thir- 
teen Avere served in the same manner ; yet, what will appear 
very strange, not one of them expired under the severity 
of the operation. The hands and feet of the criminals were 
thrown into the river. Four of the men have since died, 
but more from the influence of the sun on the wounded 
parts, and through Avant of care, than from the more than 
savage cruelty of the operation." 

In April 1790, the same punishment was inflicted upon 
an incendiary at Moorshedabad. It was a Mohamadan 


penalty, and was resorted to in the case of the dacoits, in the 
hope of striking terror into the hearts of the numerous 
robbers who were devastating the country in so many dis- 
tricts, and producing everywhere so much alarm. It is 
hoped and believed that the above were the only instances 
in which so ferocious a punishment was administered under 
British authority. In 1793, a Regulation of Government 
made it illegal to inflict mutilation, and prescribed impri- 
sonment in lieu of it. 

Mr. G. C. Meyer, Superintendent of Police, under date 
the 2nd November 1791, issued the following notice : — 
"Whereas a robbery was committed on Tuesday night, the 
1st instant, on the Chowringhy Road, by three Europeans, 
supposed to be sailors, who made their escape ^vith a gold 
watch, capped and jewelled, the maker's name John Holmes, 
London, and a gold chain and seal engraved with a lion 
rampant, — whoever will produce the said watch, chain and 
seal, and give information of the offenders, so that they may 
be apprehended and convicted, shall recei\ e a reward of four 
hundred rupees." 

Murders and robberies were of very frequent occurrence 
in the heart of the city ; and, in the suburbs, armed gangs 
of these marauders sometimes boldly paraded the highways 
by torch-light. Within the city, where offences against life 
and property were perpetrated more cautiously, craft took 
the place of effrontery. The single thief committed his 
nightly depredations, having his naked body smeared over 
with oil, so that it was next to impossible to hold him. 
Hicky's Gazette recommended that a long bamboo with a 
triple iron hook at the end of it, should be kept in readiness 
for detaining such visitors. In November 1788, two Bengali 
policemen were apprehended in an attempt to rob the house 
of a wealthy native, in a very different stvle ; "they had 
disguised themselves in the dress of Portuguese, with their 
hair curled, frizzed, and powdered, cocked hats, and very 
• smart coats, stockings, &:c." 

River dacoity seems to have been carried on fearlessly. 
The dacoits infested the Sunderbunds. and the ri\er leading 
to and from Dacca. We hear of them coming in bands of 
seven, fourteen and twenty-four boats, and attacking Euro- 


peans as well as natives, and stripping them of their goods, 
and when opposed adding murder to their misdeeds. Mr. 
Burgh, on his way to Calcutta, was killed and thrown into 
the river on the 3rd November 1788 ; two European gentle- 
men proceeding towards Dacca, were the next day attacked 
and left even without their clothes ; and on that evening 
Mr. Willes, proceeding from Sylhet, fell in with the same 
party, and though he escaped into the jungle, his boats were 
plundered. These are but a few of the robberies committed. 
A list of some dozen is given in the Gazette. Mr. Henckell, 
the Magistrate at Jessore, and Mr. Ewart, the Salt Agent at 
Jynagur. were obliged to resort to severe measures, to put 
down these daring pirates. Thirty-three persons were ap- 
prehended, who were supposed to have been concerned in 
the above robberies, and severe punishment inflicted on the 
robbers. This had the effect of putting down their daring 

There existed in the early part of the year 1795, a rather 
formidable gang of robbers, consisting of English, Portu- 
guese, Italians and other foreigners, who had committed 
various burglaries in the houses of rich native merchants. 
A party of five Emopeans and a Bengalee committed a burg- 
lary on the house of Choi ton Seal in the China Bazar, on 
the night of the 18th February, and through one of the party, 
Avho had been engaged in this affair, turning king's evid- 
ence, the ^vhole gang was captured and future depredations 
prevented. This must have been a formidable set of thieves, 
as in the evidence it came out that the -^vhole gang was likely 
soon to number no less than two hundred individuals, and 
as soon as such a muster could be got, the Hindustan Bank 
was to h.2L\e been attacked and plundered. At that time 
burglary was a capital crime, and on their being convicted 
these five Europeans and the Hindoo were sentenced to be 
hanged, ^vhich sentence was carried into execution "at the 
meeting of the four roads near the public office of the 
Justices of the Peace." 

It would appear that it was anything but safe to be out 
late at night on the Maidan. We read in a paper of the 1st 
September 1791 — "Last night about 10 o'clock, a very daring 
robbery was committed near the new Fort, on Mr. Massevk, 


who was in his palanqueen, by eight Europeans, supposed to 
be soldiers ; after wounding him severely, they took from 
him his shoe-buckles, and every valuable he had about him." 

Several robberies were committed within the months 
of .March and April 1795, on the Calcutta Esplanade, and 
the roads leading to and from Fort William, by Europeans 
disguised in various dresses, who were proved to be private 
soldiers from the garrison. 

The John Bull tells us that while in the neighbourhood 
of Trichinopoly, the tent of the Governor of Madras, on his 
way to the Neilgherries, was "entered by thieves and robbed 
of the whole of its contents, not even excepting His Excel- 
lency's wearing apparel." 

The Indian Robber 

Robbers in India are remarkable for the dexterity with 
which they accomplish their schemes of plunder. They are 
certainly, in this particular, exceeded by those of no other 
nation in the world. They have been known to enter a 
bungalow and remove everything worth taking, leaving the 
party to whom it belonged and his wife upon the cane-work 
of the bedstead on which they slept, with no other covering 
except their night-clothes, and this without waking either. 
Achievements of this kind were matters of almost daily ac- 
complishment by those dexterous marauders who infested the 
northern boundary of the Gangetic plain and many other 
parts of Hindostan. It was their custom to approach the 
tent or bungalow which they intended to rob. imitating, 
during their approach, the dismal howl of a pariah dog, or 
the cries of jackals, in order, should their approach be heard, 
to lull suspicion, as the proximity of either of those animals 
would of course excite no alarm. They usually advanced 
upon their bellies, made a slight incision at the bottom of 
the tent, through which they thrust their heads and, ha\ing 
made the requisite observations entered and seemed their 
booty. Upon reaching a bungalow, if the ^vall were of mud. 
they soon perforated it, and if of brick, they imdermincd it 
with great skill and despatch, seldom failing to carry off 
everytliing valuable Avithin, if once thev could effect an 


A captain of the Bengal Native Infantry, was proceed- 
ing from Delhi to the Himalaya Mountains, in the year 
1827, when he was placed in a situation of much difficulty 
and equal danger by one of those contingencies to which 
travellers were, more or less, exposed in every part of India. 
The cries of jackals at night were among their most common 
annoyances, but they soon became so familiarized with 
these wild and discordant sounds that they ceased to regard 
them. They were frequently heard a distance of several 
miles, and upon first entering the country a foreigner could 
obtain no rest from the incessant uproar made by those rest- 
less creatures, which, being gregarious, go in immense packs, 
positively infesting every region of the east. 

The captain had pitched his tent in the neighbourhood 
of Hurdwar, a place eminently celebrated for its sanctity as 
a place of Hindoo pilgrimage, situated on the western side 
of the Ganges, ^vhere it issues into the plains of Bengal from 
the northern hills. This place of sacred concourse is a 
hundred and ten miles north-east from Delhi. 'Fatigued 
with a long and harassing march the gallant officer had re- 
tired early to rest. ha\ing pitched his tent under a tope, or 
grove of trees, a short distance beyond the boundaries of the 
town, northward. Having placed his pistols, which were 
loaded with ball, under his pillo^v, and his sabre upon a 
chair bv the side of his bed he addressed himself to sleep. 
As usual the nightly serenading of the jackals was heard, 
but he had been too well seasoned to such interruptions to 
be diverted from his repose. He ^vas. however, rather 
struck by the fact of these creatures being much nearer the 
tent than it was usual ^vith them to venture ; still he was 
suffering too severely from fatigue to allow a circiunstance 
so trifling to arrest his slumbers. Aware that he had nothing 
which could become the prev of jackals, he resigned himself 
to sleep in perfect security, and slept soundly for several 
hours. Towards morning he awoke greatly chilled and 
found himself lying upon the bed, to his utter amazement 
quite uncovered, without even a curtain to protect him from 
the musquitoes which, during the night, had held carnival 
upon his bodv. particularly upon the soles of his feet, the 
palms of his hands, and his face, which were all stiff and 


painful, besides being so swelled and irritated by the poison 
of those tormenting insects, that he could scarcely either 
walk or see. He immediately summoned his servants. The 
light suspended from the pole of his tent in a globe lamp 
had been extinguished ; they were consequently obliged to 
obtain a fresh light, which, after considerable delay, was 

"Upon examining the tent it appeared that the bed was 
entirely stripped, nothing remaining but the mattress and 
bedstead. The pistols and sword were missing. Everything 
of value had been carried off, nothing in fact being left but 
a few changes of w-earing apparel and the tent furniture. 
Avhich had no doubt been found by the robber too cumber- 
some to remove. This really was a grievous loss to the 
sufferer, from the difficulty existing in supplying the neces- 
saries of which he had been so unexpectedly deprived. It 
was quite impossible to proceed without certain essentials ; 
but how to obtain these was the question, as they are not 
usually found in Hindoo towns. 

"The second day after the captain and his young com- 
panion had quitted Hurdwar. a native of the lowest caste 
came up with the bullock drivers, and entering into familiar 
conversation with them, joined the homely cavalcade. The 
captain happened at this time to be in the rear of his palan- 
keen, on horseback, having set out some time after the 
bullocks which conveyed the baggage. He had suffered so 
severelv from headache the previous night that he did not 
feel disposed to start so early as his followers. He observed 
the man join the bullock drivers, but as they seemed readily 
to enter into discourse with him as if he were an old com- 
rade, there was nothing in this at all singular ; it therefore 
excited no suspicion, though our traveller was somewhat 
struck by the peculiarity of the man's air, and the inquisi- 
tive manner in -\vhich he appeared to survey every thing 
that arrested his attention. 

"The officious stranger occasionally assisted in urging 
on the oxen, sluggish from over-fatigue and bad feeding, 
and once or twice forwardly aided the drivers in adjusting 
some portions of the baggage, which having become loose 
-chafed the poor animals' backs. Still there was nothing in 


his manner positively to excite suspicion, such being matters, 
of very common occurrence on all the public routes througii. 
Hindoostan, the earnestness of the man's actions, how- 
ever, might have indicated to a quick observer intentions 
not very evident to ordinary scrutiny. * * * 

"The captain and his companion retired early to rest 
in the same tent, the one being feverish and wakeful, the 
other fatigued and sleepy. The former was excited and 
restless ; his thoughts reverting to the late robbery, kept him 
in a state of irritable excitement, and every sound that 
reached his ear caused him to apprehend the approach of 

ai? enemy. 

"About an hour after midnight, the attention of the 
wakeful man was challenged by a noise, something like the 
baying of a hound ; he listened. It was singularly un- 
natural, though utterly remote from anything human. It 
approached perceptibly nearer, continued for an interval 
of several minutes, and then ceased altogether. What could 
this mean ? For some time all was still, nevertheless the eye 
of the traveller wandered cautiously and watchfully round 
the tent, as he now began to feel a painful apprehension of 
danger. The recent robbery made him the more suspicious ; 
still not choosing to provoke needless alarm, he determined 
patiently but guardedly to await the issue, which could not 
now be remote. A lamp suspended from a silken cord, 
attached to a bracket and pully fixed in the pole of the tent, 
burned so brightly as to render everything clearly distin- 
guishable. After a while he perceived the canvas on one 
side of the tent near the ground, gently stirred, as if by a 
gradual and cautious pressure, and almost immediately a 
black head was protruded through an incision made by a 
knife, the bright blade gleaming in the lamplight. The 
head was withdrawn for a few moments and again protruded. 
This was several times repeated, an interval of perhaps a 
minute intervening. None of the sleepers outside were dis- 
turbed : that hard sonorous breathing which indicates pro- 
found slinnber was heard within the tent. It was evident 
that none but the stranger was awake without. 

"The captain could not longer entertain any doubts as 
to the intention of the villain, whose head he had seen 


through the cleft canvas, still he was anxious to capture the 
robber ; he lay perfectly still, determined either to kill or 
secure the intruder, should he enter the tent for the purpose 
of plunder, which was clearly his intention. This was, more 
than probably, the same fellow who had plundered him a 
few days pre\'iously, and he was resolved, if possible, to visit 
him now with merited retribution. Again the head was 
protruded, when the captain distinctly recognised the 
features of the man Avho had joined the bullock drivers and 
so officiously forced his services upon them. He had a 
different turban bound tightly round his forehead, but the 
features were not to be mistaken. Once more the head was 
withdrawn. This cautious process had been repeated seve- 
ral times, until ir ^vas evidently presimied that the occu- 
pants of the tent were asleep, when the elder, who with 
tremulous anxiety had kept his eyes upon the spot from the 
first moment he had perceived the canvas move, saw the 
man, whose head had been protruded, slowly drag his body 
through the opening. He was perfectly naked, and armed 
only with a knife, pointed at the end and having a broad 
dotible-edged blade-like dagger. The intruder approached 
the couch on which the captain lay, he pretending the while 
to be in a profound sleep, which he feigned in order that 
he might attack the robber in the act of phmder. Consider- 
ing that he was at least a match for a single native only 
armed ^vith a knife, he forbore to awake his companion, 
who was still wrapped in profound slumber. Since the 
robbery already mentioned, he had nightly concealed his 
pistols tinder the mattress upon which he lay, so likewise 
had his companion, 

"The robber having mintitely examined the pillows of 
either cotich with so gentle a hand as wotild not have shaken 
the dew from a rosebtid, and being persuaded that there 
were no arms under either, proceeded to the bed of the 
younger officer, and having satisfied himself that he conti- 
nued asleep, commenced his operations of plunder with the 
deliberate skill of a practised pillager. His adroitness in 
his calling was not to be mistaken. Every lock was opened 
in a few seconds, so that there should be no occasion for halt- 
ing after he once commenced operations. Having arranged 


cxcrything apparently to his satisfaction, he examined each 
article with great care, but without the slightest embarrass- 
ment, and then promptly making up his mind what was 
worth securing, he rapidly collected the approved moveables 
and placed them together in the centre of the tent. All this 
^vas done without the slightest noise ; their owner still feign- 
ing sleep and breathing laboriously in order the better to 
keep up the illusion. As soon as the bandit had made his 
selection, he took the palampore, or counterpane, from the 
couch nearest at hand, and spreading it open, deliberately 
placed the things upon it and tied them securely ready to 
carry off. He searched carefully for money, but was dis~ 
appointed, as our travellers had taken care to place their 
rupees with their swords and pistols under the mattress of 
their beds. 1 hough foiled in this particular, the man had 
collected sufficient plunder to provide for his wants for a 
full year to come. Having carefully looked over the trunks 
he made a sallam towards each cough, as if to thank its 
occupants for his easy success. 

"Being now prepared to decamp with his booty, the 
robber took a towel, and, steeping it in the water-ewer, 
which was on a stand near the pole of the tent, pitched it 
dexterously into the glass globe containing the lamp. For- 
tunately, the globe being a very large one, the towel slipped 
down the side and escaped the wick, this being fixed in a 
liigh glass within the crystal receptacle. Nothing perplexed, 
the bandit took a second towel, and having soaked it with 
water as before, was in the act of throwing it upon the light, 
which, had he succeeded, would have secured his escape, 
^vhen the captain who had by this time grasped his sabre, 
started suddenly from his couch and rushed upon the intru- 
der. The man, not at all dismayed at being thus un- 
expectedly discovered, sprang behind the pole of the tent, 
grasping the knife with which he was armed, firmly in his 
right hand. The first stroke aimed at his head by a strong 
and active arm he adroity parried gliding round the tent- 
pole, so as completely to baffle the efforts of his foe. At 
length the captain after many vain attempts to strike a suc- 
cessful blow, observing a favourable opportunity, struck im- 
petuously at the intruder's neck, which the latter suddenly 


depressed, when the stroke, dealt with a vigorous hand, fell 
on the pole which such violence that the blade of the aven- 
ger's sword snapt off at the hilt. He was now unarmed, 
though not at the mercy of his enemy, for without a 
moment's delay he cast the bladeless hilt from him, and 
attempted to seize the robber, who being oiled all over and 
quite naked, easily slipped from his grasp, and at the same 
moment striking him in the side with his knife, darted to- 
wards the opening through which he had entered. The cap- 
tain though bleeding copiously, rushed after him, dashed off 
the fellow's turban, and seizing him by the hair, drew him 
backward into the tent. The bandit still grasped his knife, 
and, being extremely active, was quickly on his feet. His 
antagonist, though severely cut, laid his hand upon the mur- 
derous instrument, which the man instantly relinquished,, 
and by a sudden movement again freed himself from the 
clutch of his excited enemy. Feeling himself free, he 
plunged through the opening, but his escape was arrested 
by a surer hand. 

"The younger officer, having been awakened by the 
noise, had secured one of his pistols, and quitting his couch, 
discharged it at the robber just as the latter was in the act 
of effecting his escape. The bullet, true to the aim and 
purose of him who directed it, struck the luckless wretch 
on the head, which it passed completely through, and he 
rolled backward in the fearful struggles of death. After a 
few frightful contortions, a spasm, and a groan, he expired. 
He proved to be, as had been previously concluded, the man 
who had shared the bullock drivers' hospitality, as already 
recorded. Upon examining the turban which lay on the 
tent-floor, the captain's gold watch, and the money of which 
he had taken charge, a hundred gold mohurs, was found 
ciniously secreted between the folds, ^vhich sufTicienth iden- 
tified this with the former robber," 


"I was once in the presence o^ the emperor of Hindus- 
tan," says Ibn Batuta, "when two Yogees, wrapt up in cloaks, 
with their heads covered, came in. The emperor caressed 
them, and said, pointing to me, 'This is a stranger ; show 
him what he was never yet seen.' They said, 'We will.' 
One of them then assumed the form of a cube, and rose from 
the earth, and in this cubic shape he occupied a place in 
the air over our heads. I was so much astonished and ter^ 
rified at this that I fainted and fell to the earth. The 
emperor then ordered me some medicine which he had with 
him, and upon taking this, I recovered and sat up : this 
cubic figure still remaining in the air just as it had been. 
His companion then took a sandal belonging to one of those 
who had come out with him, and struck it upon the ground, 
as if he had been angry. The sandal then ascended, until 
it become opposite in situation with the cube. It then 
struck it upon the neck, and the cube descended gradually 
to the earth, and at last rested in the place which it had 
left. The emperor then told me that the man who took the 
form of a cube was a disciple to the owner of the sandal ; 
and, continued he, 'Had I not entertained fears for the safety 
of thy intellect, I should have ordered them to show thee 
greater things than these.' From this, however, I took a 
palpitation at the heart, until the emperor ordered me a 
medicine, which restored me." 

Some itinerant jugglers display tricks which it is almost 
impossible to so,lve. Amongst their many extraordinary 
tricks may be mentioned one which, though done in Eng- 
land and by Europeans in India by means of trap doors and- 
hanging drapery on a stage, is exhibited by the Indian otT 
the open roadway, and before any number of spectators in' 
the light of day. We allude to the mysterious disappearance- 
of an individual, either a boy or a girl. In an old paper 
of 1797. we find the following graphic description of the 



puzzle : "A handsome young girl, covered with ornaments 
and dressed as a bride, is brought into the room by the con- 
juror. An open wicker-work basket, in size and shape re- 
sembling a beehive, is then prodticed ; the girl sits down 
on the floor in the centre of the room, and salaaming to all 
the company first, is then covered over by the basket. Over 
this the husband (the conjuror) flings a couple of sheets, so 
as to exclude her entirely from view ; a conversation then 
iensues between the juggler and the girl under the basket, 
in which the former accuses her of unfaithfulness, a reproach 
'to which the girl at first replies indignantly ; gradually the 
rman gets more and more excited, and holds forth threats, 
at which the frightened girl begins to remonstrate, and 
finally supplicates for mercy. The conjuror is however, by 
this time to all appearance wound up to a pitch of fury, 
and suddenly to the horror of the uninitiated portion of his 
spectators unsheathes his sword, and runs it through and 
through the basket in every direction : shrieks of alarm 
and pain, which gradually grow fainter and fainter, ensue ; 
the basket absolutely writhes, as though moved by the quiver- 
ing touch of the murdered girl ; blood streams out from 
under the basket, the sword is bathed in gore, and a faint 
suffocating gi^oan proclaimed to the spectators that the deed 
was done. The bloodstained murderer then coollv \vipes 
the sword and returns it to the scabbard, and salaaming to 
the spectators tells them that he has been ^vell avenged on 
his wife for her infidelity ; he then takes deliberately one 
sheet at a time, and shaking them well folds them up ; this 
done, he kicks over the basket and exposes to view — the 
floor of the room. No woman, nor child, nor blood, nor 
any trace of the occupant of the basket, is to be found. The 
juggler, who pretends to be as much astonished as any one 
else at the marvellous disappearance of his wife, calls implo- 
ringly on her to return. Luchmee, for so is the girl usually 
named, answers to the call, and the astounded spectators 
tiun simultaneously to the door, where the assembled ser- 
vants, who have been peeping in with silent awe, are seen 
speedily clearing a passage for some one, who they have not 
the slightest doubt must be a daughter of a pishach, (ghost), 
and the pretty little Luchmee comes running into the room. 


all smiles and salaams, scatheless as any of the party present, 
and apparently much amused at the surprise depicted in 
every one's countenance." 

Indian jugglers appear (in 1814) to have thought more 
ot in England than they are now. A party of these, con- 
sisting of two men and a boy, were taken to England from 
Madras by the captain of the Monarch. They performed 
three times a day in Pall Mall, and their gains were for a 
single month of t^venty-six days (excluding Sundays) not 
short of £1,638 ! The party after "doing" London, in- 
tended travelling all over the three kingdoms, where they 
hoped to net large profits. It appears that the sivallowing 
of swords trick was Avhat had taken the people of England 
by surprise. 

Miss Eden relates the following about a Madras jugg- 
ler : — "He did all the tricks the Indian jugglers do with 
balls and balancing, and swallowing a sword, &:c., and then 
he spit hre in large flames, and put a little rice into the top 
of a basket or small tray, and shook it. and before our eyes 
a tiny handful of rice turned into a large quantity of cowrie 
shells. Then he made a little boy, who is one of mv ser- 
vants, sit down, and he put a small black pebble into his 
hand and apparently did nothing but ^vave a little baguette 
round his head, and forty rupees came tumbling out 
of the boy's little hands. He made him pick them up 
again, and hold them as tight as he could, and in an 
instant the rupees ^vere all gone, and a large li\e frog jumped 

Here is another trick, equally marvellous : — -"One day 
Mr. Smyth told me that he expected to receive a visit from 
a nati^e. an amateur conjuror, who would perform some 
amusing tricks. When he entered the room he spread a 
Tvhite cloth upon the floor, and sat do^vn upon it with his 
back to the wall, the door of the room being on his right 
hand. His spectators were disposed in the following 
fashion : Mr. Smyth sat on a chair nearly in the middle 
of the room. I was sitting on a sofa near the door, the 
Parsee merchant stood in the doorwav aboiu an arm's 
length from me. The servants stood about in groups, the 
largest group being between the door and the conjuror. 


As soon as he had settled himself, he turned to the Parsee 
and asked for the loan of a rupee. The pedlar at first 
demurred a little, but, on being guaranteed against loss, 
he produced the coin. He was going to put into the con- 
juror's hand, but the latter refused, and told the Parsee to 
hand it to Mr. Smyth's bearer. The bearer took it, and 
at the request of the conjuror, looked at it and declared 
it to be really a rupee. The conjuror then told him to 
hand it to his master. Mr. Smyth took it, and then follow- 
ed this dialogue : — Conjuror : "Are you sure that is a 
rupee ?" — Smyth : "Yes." — Conjuror : "Close your hand 
on it and hold it tight. Now think of some country in 
Europe, but do not tell me your thought." Then the 
conjuror ran over the names of several countries, such as 
France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, and America — for the 
native of India is under the impression that America is in 
Europe. After a moment's pause Mr. Smyth said he had 
thought of a country. "Then open your hand," said the 
juggler, "see what you have got, and tell me if it is a coin 
of the country you thought of." It was a five-franc piece 
and Mr. Smyth had thought of France. He was going to 
hand the coin to the conjuror, but the latter said, "No, 
pass it to the other sahib." Mr. Smyth accordingly put 
the five-franc piece into my hand ; I looked closely at it. 
then shut my hand and thought of Russia. When I 
opened it I found, not a Russian but a Turkish silver piece 
about the size of the five-franc, or of our own crown piece. 
This I handed to Mr. Smyth, and suggested that he should 
name America, which he did, and found a Mexican dollar 
in his hand. The coin, whatever it was, had never been 
in the conjinor's hand from the time the rupee Avas 
borrov/ed from the Parsee merchant. Mr. Smyth and his 
bearer had both of them closely examined the rupee, and 
Mr. Smyth and I turned over several times the five-franc 
piece, the Turkish coin, and the dollar ; so the trick did not 
depend on reversible coin. Indeed it could not, for the coin 
underwent three changes, as has been seen. I need only 
add, for the information of those who know not India, that 
a rupee is only about the size of a florin, and therefore about 
Ualf the weight of a five-franc piece." 


On aiiothei" occasion the same juggler is called upon to 
perform : — 

"As before, he was seated on a white cloth, which this 
time I think was a table cloth, borrowed from the mess 
sergeant. He asked some one present to produce a rupee, 
and to lay it down at the remote edge of the cloth. The 
cloth being three or four yards in length, the conjuror could 
not have touched the coin without being seen, and, in fact, 
did not touch it. He then asked for a signet ring. Several 
were offered him, and he chose out one which had a very 
large oval seal, projecting well beyond the gold hoop on both 
sides. This ring he tossed and tumbled several times in his 
hands ,now thro^ving it into the air and catching it, then 
shaking it between his clasped hands, all the time mumbling 
half articulate words in some Hindustanee patois. Then 
setting the ring down on the cloth at about half -arm's length 
in front of him, he said, slowly and distinctly in good 
Hindustanee. "Ring, rise up and go to the rupee." The 
ring rose, with the seal uppermost, and resting on the hoop, 
slowly, with a kind of dancing or jerking motion, it passed 
over the cloth until it came to where the rupee lay on the 
remote edge ; then it lay down on the coin. The conjuror 
then said. "Ring, lay hold of the rupee, and bring it to me." 
The projecting edge of the seal seemed to grapple the edge 
of the coin ; the ring and the rupee rose into a kind of 
^vrestling attitude and with the same dancing and jerking 
motion, the two returned to within reach of the juggler's 

We shall only make mention of another performance 
^\hich occurred at Fort ^Villiam. It appeared to have a 
strong resemblance to the feats recorded in sacred history, 
as having been performed by the magicians of Egypt, in the 
time of Moses, and in the presence of Pharaoh. Indeed, as 
is well known that the Hindu tricks have been handed down 
from the most distant ages, from father to son, there is little 
wonder that such a similarity can exist. The particular 
trick alluded to, is the apparent conversion of a brass coin 
into a snake : — "The juggler gave me the coin to hold, and 
then seated himself, about five yards from me, on a small 
rug, from which he never attempted to move during the 


whole performance. I showed the coin to several persons 
who were close beside me, on a form in front of the juggler. 
At a sign from him, I not only grasped the coin I held 
firmly in my right hand, but, crossing that hand with equal 
tightness with my left. I enclosed them both as firmly as I 
could between my knees. Of course I was positively certain 
that the small coin was within my double fists. The juggler 
then began a sort of incantation, accompanied by a mono- 
tonous and discordant kind of recitative, and, repeating the 
words. Ram Sambhu. during some minutes. He then 
suddenly stopped and, still keeping his seat, made a quick 
motion with his right hand, as if throwing something at 
me, giving at the same time a puff with his mouth. At that 
instant I felt my hands suddenly distend, and become partly 
open, while I experienced a sensation as if a cold ball of 
dough, or something equally soft, nasty, and disagreeable 
was no^v bet^veen my palms. I started to my feet in 
astonishment, also to the astonishment of others, and open- 
ing my hands, found there no coin, but to my horror and 
alarm (for of all created things I detest and loathe the 
genus). I sa^v a young snake, all alive-oh ! and of all snakes 
in the world, a cobra-di-capello, folded, or rather coiled, 
roundlv up. I thre^v it instantly to the ground, trembling 
with rage and fear, as if already bitten by the deadly reptile, 
^vhich began immediately to crawl along the ground, to the 
alarm and amazement of every one present. The juggler 
no^s' got up for the first time since he had sat down, and 
catching hold of the snake displayed its length, which was 
nearly t^vo feet — two feet all but an inch and-a-half. He 
then took it cautiously by the tail, and opening his own 
mouth to its widest extent, let the head of the snake drop 
into it. and deliberately commenced to swallow the animal, 
till the end of the tail only ^vas A'isible : then making a 
sudden gulp, the whole of the snake was apparently swallow- 
ed. After this, he came up to the spectators, and opening 
his mouth wide, permitted us to look into his throat, but no 
snake or snake's tail was \ isible, it was seemingly down his 
throat altogether. During the remainder of the perform- 
ances, we never saw this snake again, nor did the man profess 
his ability to make it re-appear ; but he performed another 


snake-trick, which surprised us very much. He took frorn 
a bag another cobra-di-capello, and, walking into the centrie 
of the room, enclosed it in his hands in a folded state. He 
waved, or shook them for some time in this condition, and 
then opened his fists, when, hey ! presto ! — the snake was 
gone, and in its place appeared several small ones, which 
he suffered to fall from his hands, w^hen they glided, wath 
their peculiar undulating movement, almost like the waves 
of the sea, about the floor." 

We reproduce the subjoined account of Hassan Khan 
and his performances, from a paper which some time since 
appeared in the columns of the Englishman : — 

■'One of his favourite tricks was to borrow a watch and 
transport it to some unthought of place and send the owner 
to find it. Being present at a select party at the house of a: 
European gentleman then residing in Upper Circular Road, 
he politely asked a lady to give him her watch. After the 
usual by-play, in the view^ of all present, he flung the watcfr 
with force from an upper verandah into a tank in front of 
the house. Every one saw^ the watch, with the chain 
dangling, Avhisk through the air, and fall into the water. 
A short time after, the fair owner of the watch waxing 
impatient, he requested her to go into the next room and 
hold out her hand for it. She did so, and behold the watch 
and chain, both dripping ^vet, came into her hand. Among 
several others, a gentleman to be met with daily not fifty 
miles from St. John's Church, can attest the truth of what 
is here stated. At another time Hassan Khan was at the 
house of a gentleman whose watch he borrowed, and shortly 
after, ^vhen asked for its return, protested that he never took 
the watch and that his host had not brought it home, but 
left it Avithin the desk of his office, which w^as situated in 
another street. The desk key ^vas in the gentleman's pocket 
all the time, and yielding to Hassan Khan's challenge he 
drove over to his office at that hour of the night, had the 
room opened, and unlocking his desk found the watch quite 
safe inside. Another w^atch trick was played in a place of 
business in Dalhousie Square. He took a watch and a ring 
belonging to different oAvners and tied up the two with a 
handkerchief. x-\fter a ^vhile he pointed to a press, and 


enquired if it was locked and who had the key. The owner 
produced the key from his pocket, the press was opened, and 
ring, watch and handkerchief found inside of it. There 
was another class of exhibitions in which, it is said, Hassan 
Khan loved to display his occult powers, whatever they may 
have been. Without any regard to time, place, or circum- 
stances, he coidd at will produce a bag of sandwiches and 
cakes, or beer, wine, and brandy of any mark and quality 
required. He would not bring them forth from his person 
or with his own hands : but where\er he might be at the 
time, he would warn the company that it was approaching, 
when suddenly the bag or the bottle would become visible 
to the spectators, suspended in mid air, and one of them had 
to seize upon it. In every case the edible or potable was 
(he best of its kind. VV'ho or what this man was, has never 
been satisfactorily explained. He went about freely, was 
to be seen everywhere, and mixed with all sorts of people ; 
but he was always enshrouded in an impenetrable mystery." 



The following are the rates of travelling by palkee 
dawk from Calcutta to the places noted, showing the high 
rate charged in those days, — a trip to Benares costing over 
seven himdred rupees : — • 

The Grand Trunk Road, which stretches from Calcutta 
to Lahore, was commenced in 1833, soon after the Act 
under which the post office is go\erned came into opera- 
tion, but was of \ery inconsiderable length till some time 
after, vvhen it was extended from Allahabad to Delhi and 
Meerut : thus far it remained till 1852. when it was conti- 
nued to Kurnal and Umballa in one direction ; and to 
Fcrozepore and Lahore in the other. 

It was a metalled or macadamised road, "smooth as a 
bowling green," and cost about £1000 a mile. Besides the 
halting grounds for troops, serais were erected at convenient 
intervals, and dawk bungalows established, where travellers 


found board and lodging for man and beast. For the 
protection of the road guard-houses with two poHcemen 
at each were placed at every two miles. 

The Government Bullock Train Avas commenced in 
October 1845, between Benares and Delhi. Meerut, Agra. 
Sec. On the 1st of May, 1847. it was extended to Umballa. 
At the beginning of 1849 it was carried for^vard to 
Loodiana, and on the 1st of March 1850, to Julhmder and 
shortly after to Lahore. 

The road from CalciUta to Barrackpore Avas opened 
to the public on the 26th July. 1805. 

On the 22nd March, 1796. the Post-Master General 
publishes the rates of dawk travelling upon "the new road 
from Calcutta to Benares and Patna." These rates will 
appear strange to travellers of the present day. but such 
prevailed up to the year 1850, in April of which year the 
first horse dawk was established by Tunti Mull, afterwards 
Messrs. Greenway and Co., to run from Calcutta to Cawn- 
pore. The palkee dawk rates were — 

"From Calcutta to Benares ... Sa. Rs. 500 
From Calcutta to Patna ... ,, 400 

And from the above to the intermediate stations on the 
new road, at the rate of one rupee two annas per mile or 
two rupees four annas per coss." 

Mail carts were first brought into use by Mr. Smith 
of Meerut, bet^veen that station and Delhi. In November 

1841, the Government followed the good example set, by 
having carts between Allyghur and Cawnpore. In March 

1842, (or within five months) they were extended to 
Mynpoorie ; in May of the same year to Allyghur. In 
January 1844 the system was carried on from Allyghur to 
Delhi, and from Allyghur to Meerut in February 1845. In 
May of that year Agra was admitted to its benefits ; while 
in the following month this mode of conveying the mail 
was extended eastward between Benares and Allahabad. 
Before January 1846, the mail for Agra ^vas l^rought up- 
wards to Allyghur ; in that month the acuteness of the 
angle was amazingly reduced by the establishment of a 
direct communication between Nowgong and Agra. The 
mail carts were next carried on to Saharunpore, then to 


Umbaila and Loodiana, subsequently to Lahore, Mooltan, 
kc, and at the same time downwards to Calcutta. 

Somewhat before 1842, though travelling by palankeen 
dawk was the most general, some travellers preferred the 
palankeen carriage on the grand trunk road. These 
carriages were not horsed as they ^vere afterwards, but 
drawn by coolies ; and dawk bungalows or rest houses were 
placed at every twenty miles on the road from Agra to 
Calcutta, at which the traveller found accomodation and 
attendance. A plain dish of fowl curry and rice, or 
perhaps a leg of mutton and potatoes Avere the only eatables 
obtainable ; necessaries, such as tea, sugar, wine and bread 
the traveller was obliged to take with him, or obtain from 
some hospitable European neighboring resident. 

It is wonderful in the present day to call to remem- 
brance the liberal hospitality that was extended to travellers, 
though unaccompanied by letters of recommendation, 
and often perfect strangers to the residents on the line of 

One writer, in 1843, states : — "Everywhere you find 
the most hearty welcome, and the most hospitable recep- 
tion. The longer the guest is pleased to remain, the 
greater is the satisfaction which he gives to the host." 
Truly the hospitality of our ancestors must have been 
exercised to greater extent than it is at the present 

The system of conveying passengers by palkee carriages 
and trucks was first established between Cawnpore and 
Allahabad in May. 1843, and extended to Allyghur in 
November of the same year ; Delhi was included in June 
1945 ; Agra and Meerut about the same time ; the Now- 
gong line not being, however, ready till January 1946. 

A writer gives the following description of dawk travel- 
ling in 1843 from Delhi to Agra, a distance of 137 miles, 
and for which he had to pay 140 rupees : — "I engaged eight 
bearers to carry my palankeen. Besides these I had four 
banghy burdars, men who are each obliged to carry forty 
pound weight, in small wooden or tin boxes, called petar- 
rahs, with the help of a long bamboo resting on the shoul- 
der, and t^vo masalchies or torch bearers. From Delhi to 


Agra there are twelve stages, the longest fourteen, the 
shortest ten miles. 

An express acquaints the postmasters beforehand of the 
approach of travellers, so that the new bearers are always 
found read). When we approached a new stage all the 
bearers set up a shrill rcy to announce that they were com- 
ing. The torch bearer runs by the side of the palankeen, 
occasionally feeding his cotton torch with oil, which he 
carries with him in a wooden bottle, or a bamboo. 

At every change of bearers the relieved men invariably 
petition for bukshish, and if they do not receive something 
the new men annoy the traveller by jolting him or doing 
their duty lazily. It may be easily conceived that travel- 
ling in this mode is not the most pleasant, hoAvever luxu- 
rious it may appear to be." 

In March 1850. Tunti Mull, a wealthy native, who had 
for two years before run a carriage between Lucknow and 
Ca^vnpore, together with some European gentlemen, under 
the style of the Inland Transit Company, started horse car- 
riage dawks from Calcutta to Cawnpore. 

In the following year this company's operations extended 
to Meerut, Delhi and Agra. From Meerut another private 
company, carried on the commimication, by means of two- 
wheeled springed carriages dra^vn by bullocks as far as 
Umballa : and thence at the close of 1851, another private 
company continued the transit by palankeen cannages 
drawn by bullocks up to Lahore. 

Few, we fancy, look back Avith feelings of unmixed 
pleasure to a da^vk gharree journey, in which the bumping 
and sAvinging of the carriage had never its monotony dis- 
turbed save by the bustle consequent on a change of ponies. 
Collisions, break-downs, jibbings. dust, heat or cold, were 
all experienced on a dawk journey, yet. despite the com- 
forts of the rail, to the Indian traAeller there is often a 
soupcon of regret for the old dawk gharree, ^vhen he takes 
his ticket and settles himself down in his railway carriage. 

It is probably only a sentiment, the feeling of an old 
acquaintance— with whom possibly, we disagreed when he 
was with us — having passed a'^vay. But the old method of 
travelling had its advantages. Absolute punctuality was 


not necessary ; the gharee came into your compound, was 
loaded up, and you took your seat at your own door when 
the impulse seized you. Did you wish to stay with a friend 
for an hour by the way, or break your journey bv a rest 
in a road dawk bungalow, you were at liberty to do so. 
The dawk journey and that by railway presented similar 
points of difference to those existing between life in Europe 
and existence in Asia. The latter has many drawbacks, 
many shortcomings but it has also more freedom than has 
the former, and, therefore, it is, we say, that the Anglo 
Indian feels some regretful pang as he sees the old rumbling 
dawk gharrees going over slowly to the majority, and num- 
bered with the "have beens." 

In April 1850, "covered parcel vans," with accommo- 
dation for four passengers each, were started by the Govern- 
ment to run betv.^een Benares, Meerut, Agra, and Delhi. 

Seven miles per hour was the rate of tra\elling and 
one anna a mile the charge for passengers. By means of 
this mode of transit the distance between Delhi and 
Benares (458 miles), was accomplished by a traveller in a 
comfortable carriage, in less than five days, for rupees 28 
and 10 annas ! 

The subject of railwav communication in India was 
first laid before the Supreme Government by Mr. Rov/land 
Stepheson in 1843. In 1849. the Company engaged in a 
contract with the East India Railway Company for the 
construction of a line to the north-v/estern provinces. The 
line from Calcutta to Raneegunge. a distance of 120 miles, 
was opened on the 3rd February, 1855. The line from 
Allahabad to Cawnpore was opened in the following year. 
Since which numerous lines have been opened. At the 
time when the mutiny broke out Cawnpore was the ter- 
minus. As it is not our province to notice events after 
the transfer of the Government from the East India Com- 
pany to the Queen, or we might enter largely on this 

Ladv Falkland witnessed the opening of the Bombay 
railway line, "at w^hich Asia, stationary for thousands of 
years, was at last startled from its propriety. Thousands on 
thousands came to see that wonder of wonders. The 


whistle of the engine as it dashed on its glorious course was 
thought to be the voice of a demon. 

The bride riding to the temple, the corpse borne to 
the river or to the pile, were alike arrested by the spectacle. 
Only a fragment of the line was completed, extending a 
few miles from Bombay, but it was enough to indicate the 
beginning of a new era and the dawn of a mighty change. 
Even the wild beasts of the forest seemed to have a full 
perception of the good time coming ; and monkeys, jackals, 
and tigers, which had maintained their ground from the 
days of the flood, retreated before the rushing engine. But 
it struck down a still greater obstacle to civilisation, to pro- 
gress, to moral and social advancement, in the old, radical, 
monster clog of caste. At their first meeting it wrenched 
from Juggernaut this gem of his crown. A noble of high 
caste wished to ride in a carriage by himself, but a railroad 
levels distinctions completely and finding his request 
Avould not be complied with, my Lord Pundit was 
obliged to sit check-by-jowl with a Weyd and a Bunjara. 
He was a fact from which we might draw a moral. The 
castes, it is clear, exist by our indulgence, by our avowed 
sanction. Let us withdraw the prop and the whole rotten 
edifice will tumble to the ground, and with its fall the long 
thraldom of the Hindoo mind will terminate." 

When railways were originally talked about, one of the 
first questions of course asked was, will they pay ? The 
answer to that question chiefly turned on another. Will 
the native take to travelling by rail ? You can seldom tell 
^vhat they ^vill do, because so many motives influence them, 
which an Englishman really cannot comprehend. Dislike 
to whate\er is new, suspicion, ignorance, caste prejudices, — 
all in turn exert a power which baffle every anticipation of 
one who simply reasons. The two great things to secure 
native traffic are fares so low that it would be cheaper 
to ride than to walk, and the careful avoidance of 

Both these results have been secured. The third-class 
fare is less than a halfpenny a mile. Thousands of men 
from the upper provinces on their way to Calcutta soon 
learned that at Rancegunge there was this wonderful "Eng- 


lish machine," which would carry them the remainder of 
their journey for one rupee fourteen annas. 

Instead of travelHng for five weary days on the road 
they would get to their journey's end in about seven hours, 
and all the while — delightful state to the Hindoo — do 
nothing but sit ! The cheapness and the ease combined 
afforded attractions which have made railway travelling 
■decidedly popular wherever it exists. Happily, too, noth- 
ing has occurred to produce the suspicion that great danger 
prevails on railways. A single "dreadful accident" might 
liave created a panic which for years would have operated 
most prejudicially ; but few accidents have occured, and 
these have not been of an alarming nature. 

Printed in India 

DS Carey, W. H. , comp. 
436 The good old days of 
C252 Honorable John Company; 
being curious 
reminiscences during 
the rule of the East 
India Company from 
1600-I858, complied from 
nevrspapers and other 

Quins Book Co.